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Full text of "Russian nihilism and exile life in Siberia : a graphic and chronological history of Russia's bloody nemesis, and a description of exile life in all its true but horrifying phases, being the results of a tour through Russia and Siberia made by the author, who carried with him letters of commendation from both the American and Russian governments"

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\m\ SM 


Mrs. May L* Cheney 













IB -v Cf . "W. IE3 TJ" JE "j , 

Author of "Heroes of the Plains," "Metropolitan Life Unveiled," 

"Border Outlaws," etc., etc. 






Copyright, 1883, by J. W. BUEL. 






Departure from America. Arrival at the First 'Russian Port. 
Defensive Strength of Oonstadt. My Arrest as a "Sus- 
pect." Going Through me for Seditious Papers. Compli- 
cations Increase Because of my Inability to Speak the Lan- 
guage. Custom House Examination. A Quizzical Tout 
Ensemble. Droshky Drivers. Engaging a Guide and Inter- 
preter. Under Close Surveillance. Further Embarrass- 
ments. Brought Before the Famous "Third Section." My 
Release Accomplished Through the Intercession of our Minis- 
ter. Stories About the Third Section. Horrible Tragedies 
Enacted Therein. How Nicholas I. Used to Punish Female 
Offenders. My Meeting With Minister Hoffman, and Presen- 
tation of my Official Letters. He Advises mo not to Attempt 
an Investigation of Nihilism, on Account of Dangers I 
Would be Certain to Encounter. Americans not Easily De- 
terred. My Introduction to Count Tolstoi, Russian Minister 
of the Interior. My Letter from Minister W. H. Hunt. A 
Meeting With the Minister of Police. Etiquette of the Im- 
perial Court. The Want of a Dress-Suit Places me in an Em- 
"barassing Position. An Interview With the Count. He 
Talks With me Frankly, and Proffers any Assistance in his 
Power. Access Granted me to all the Government Records. 
The Czar Sends a Note Proffering an Interview. I submit a 
Series of Questions on Nihilism. One that was Objected to 
for Decided Reasons. My Second Meeting With Minister 
Pleve. How he Became Minister of Police. He Transmits 
His Photograph to me in America, With an Autograph Let- 
ter. --------- 3350 




Some of the Unwritten History of Kussia. Extent, Population 
and Manner of Government. Religions, National Debt, Army, 
and Imperial Expenses. Kief, the Holy City. Number of 
Imperial Palaces, and How They are Maintained. How Rus- 
sia was Changed From a Republic to an Autocracy. Early 
Wars. Chronology of the Ruling Dynasty. Living Mem- 
bers of the Present Imperial Family. How the Grand Duke 
Nicholas Became Commander of the Russian Forces in the War 
With Turkey. Why his Father Removed Him. Grand 
Duke Alexis' Appointment as Admiral of the Russian Navy. 
His Discovery of Nihilistic Sentiments Among the Marines. . 51 61 


The Three Greatest Characters in Russian History. Some events 
in the Life of Peter the Great Never Before Made Public. 
His Brother an Idiot. His Fight With Five Assassins. His 
Wars with Charles XII., of Sweden. Conspiracies Formed 
Against Him in his own Army. Ordering the Decapitation of 
Three Hundred Men. A Ghastly Incident of the Execu- 
tion. Peter's Infatuation fora Beautiful Woman. Discov- 
ered in a Treasonable Act, she is Ordered to the Block. How 
Peter Conducted Himself at her Execution. " Oh ! Beautiful 
Being, Would That I Could Take Your Place." He Never 
Gave a Pardon. The Founding and Building of St. Peters- 
burg. Establishment of his Court at Peterhoff. Striking a 
Dagger Into the Heart of his own Son. Securing a Wife for 
Peter III. Marriage of Catharine II. Domestic Intrigues. 
Peter IH. Orders the Arrest of Catharine H. How the Wily 
Queen Foiled Her Husband's Purposes. A Midnight Drive 
From Peterhoff. Descent of the Horse Guards Under Catha- 
rine Upon the Winter Palace. Flight of Peter III. to Cron- 
stadt. A Lovely Letter Which Allured Peter III. to His 
Death. Assassination of the Czar by his Wife's Orders. 
Circumstances Under Which Paul I. was Assassinated. Poli- 
cies and Wars Under Catharine II. The Dreadful Massacre 
of Poles in Warsaw. Catharine's Debaucheries. A Singular 
Death-Bed Scene. - - - 6276 


Russia's Great Rulers. Difficulties which Confronted Alexander 
IL on his Accession. The Reforms he Introduced. First 


Overt Act of Nihilists. Attack on the Winter Palace in 1825, 
and Dreadful Slaughter of the Mob. Alexander Herzen and the 
Revolutionary Press. History of Serfdom. Manumission of 
the Serfs. Scheme of Liberation as put into Execution by the 
Emperor. How the Noblemen Lived in Sumptuous Prof- 
ligacy. Results of the Liberation. Revival of Nihilism. 
Inflammatory Organs. A Remarkable Manifesto. " God to be 
Denied and Every Genius Stifled in its Cradle." Peculiari- 
ties of Russian Students. - - 7794 


The Polish Insurrection. First Attempt on the Emperor's Life. 
Mysterious Ringing of a Bell in Rappenberg. Second Attempt 
to Assassinate Alexander. First Arrest of Students for Incen- 
diary Speeches. Revelations by Netschaief. Complete Ex- 
pose of the Nihilistic Organization. How They Recruit, 
Operate, and Carry on the Work of Murder. - - 95 99 


Effects of the War With Turkey. General Trepoff 's Brutality. 
How he was Shot by Vera Zassulitch. Remarkable Trial of 
the Assailant. The Court, Threatened by a Mob, Forced to 
acquit her. Collision Between the Mob and Police. Escape 
of Vera. Her Strange History. Daughter of a distinguished 
General, but Persecuted to the Point of Desperation. Stab- 
bing to Death of General Mezentrieff and Escape of the Assas- 
sins. Attempt on the Life of Alexander II. by Solovieff. All 
the Large Cities of Russia Placed Under Martial Law. Execu- 
tion of Solovieff. Futility of Repressive Measures. Corre- 
spondence from Nihilists in the Government Offices. First Re- 
sort to Dynamite. Blowing up of a Train Supposed ^to 
Contain the Emperor. How and by Whom the Mine was 
Laid. Experts in the use of Dynamite Brought into the Ser- 
vice of the Nihilists. A Dreadful Plot. Preparations for 
Blowing up the Winter Palace. The Terrific Explosion in 
Which Forty-Five men were Killed. Accidental Escape of 
the Emperor. Impressive Scenes. Description of the Win- 
ter Palace. Finest Building in the World. Thousands of 
Workmen Killed During its Construction. How the Royal 
Family Dine. Establishment of other Repressive Measures. 
Count Melikoff Entrusted with Their Enforcement. Every 
one Ordered Under Arrest who Should Appear on the Streets 


After Dark. Terrorism Inaugurated. The Dreadful Third 
Section. Fate of Muishkin who was Lashed into Insanity. 
A Double Execution. Famous Trial of Sixteen Nihilists. 
Remarkable Heroism Displayed by Female Revolutionists. A 
Desperate Fight with the Police. History of Distinguished 
Nihilists on Trial. Attempted Assassination of Gen. Meli- 
koff. Execution of his Assailant. 100135 


The Culminating Event in Nihilistic Vengeance. Alexander IL, 
His Times and Adversities. A Youthful Witness to the Decem- 
brist's Outbreak. His Early Inclination Opposed to the Will 
of His Father. Forced into the Army. His Courtship and 
Marriage. Suicide of his Father. Sad Circumstances under 
which Alexander Accepted the Crown. The Plot for his Assas- 
sination. Laying a Dynamite Mine in Petersburg. Secret 
Plans of the Conspirators. The City barely Escapes Destruc- 
tion. Explosion of the First Bomb. It Kills two of he 
Imperial Guard, and Shatters his Majesty's Carriage. 
Explosion of the Second Bomb. The Emperor Mortally 
Wounded. Great Excitement. One of the Assassins 
Killed by the Bomb he Throws. The Czar Asks to be 
carried to the Winter Palace. Examination of His 
Wounds. His Sinking Condition Bulletined by Display- 
ing a Flag from the Palace. Administration of the 
Last Sacrament. Announcement of the Emperor's Death and 
its effects. Accession to the Throne of Alexander III. 
Funeral Services at the Fortress Chapel. Description of the 
Fortress Chapel. Arrest of the Assassins. Imperial Officers 
Arrested for Neglect of Duties. Uncovering the Secret Mine. 
Trial of the Assassins. Descriptions of the Assassins. A Bold 
Speech. Were the Criminals Tortured? Condemned to 
Death. Efforts of a Mob to Rescue the Prisoners. A 
Desperate Fight in which Several are Killed. One Man Hanged 
Three Times. Terrible Scenes at the Gallows. A Memorial 
Chapel in Remembrance of the Emperor. 136163 


Accession of Alexander III. His Dread of the Nihilists. Removal 
of the Court Residence to Peterhoff. Description of the 
Palace Grounds. Bewildering Displays of Gold. How the 
Emperor Lives. Precautions Against his Enemies. High 


Walls, Double Locks and Bars and. Three Cordons of Guards. 
Danger of Assassination. Murder of an Old Gardener by an 
Imperial Guard. How Nicholas I. Quelled a mob. - 169174 


The Secret Printing Press. Female Heroism. Personal Charac- 
teristics of Leading Female Nihilists. Assassination of Gen. 
Strelnikoff. Military Execution of Soukahnoff. Preparations 
for the Coronation of Alexander III. A Description of the 
Grand Votive Church Discovery of a Dynamite Mine under 
the Royal Chapel The Czar's Visit to Moscow Secrecy 
with which his Movements were Conducted Postponement of 
the Coronation Moscow, the Holy City Pilgrimages to her 
Shrines. 176-186 


Difficulties of Satisfying the two Antagonistic Factions in Russia. 
Effects of a Conversation with a Russian Minister. My Recep- 
tion by the Terrorists. A Syllabus of the Great State Trials, 
Prepared by a Female Liberalist. The Famous Sixteen Con- 
spirators. Wonderful Sacrifices of Private Fortunes to Aid 
the Nihilists. The Assassination of Prince Krapotkin. 
Secret Meetings and Pledges to Destroy the Czar. Too many 
Volunteer their Services as Assassins. Arrest of (Joldenberg, 
the Nihilist, and his Astonishing Confession. A Complete 
Exposure of all the Terrible Plots laid by Nihilists. Graphic 
Description of the Dynamite Mine near Moscow. How the 
Conspirators Worked and Averted Suspicion. Mariana Semi- 
ovna's Wonderful Zeal, Cunning, and Bravery. Resolving to 
Die Rather than Surrender. An Ingenious Contrivance to 
Blow up the House and Themselves should they be Detected. 
The Siberian Mines. The Nobler Traits Manifested by Alex- 
ander IL Effects of his Assassination. - - 187-236 


My Youthful Longings to Visit Siberia. Preparing to Enter 
the Frozen Wilderness. Exiles in the Central Dismissal 
Prison, Moscow. Sad Sights and Affecting Good-byes be- 
tween Exiles and their Families. Woman's Love the same 


Everywhere. A Pathetic Incident. A Visit to the Krem- 
lin. A Miraculous Picture of Christ. How Napoleon's 
Array Tried to Destroy It. The Great Tower of Ivan Veliki 
. and the Gigantic Bell. Off for Nijni Novgorod with an Ameri- 
can Companion. A Visit to the Nijni Fair. Daylight and 
Night-time Scenes. Description of Nijni. A Voyage down 
the Volga and up the Kama. How People Travel on Russian 
Steamers. Inveterate Gambling. Arrival at Perm. Rail- 
roading Across the Ural Mountains. Appearance of Nijni 
Tagilsk. Visit to the Iron and Malachite Mines. My First 
Step on Siberian Soil. The Journey to Ekaterineberg, and 
how Mining for Malachite is Conducted. - - 237-258 


Preparations for Overland Travelling. Engagement of a Taran- 
tass and Yemtschik Description of Each. Off with a 
Dash. Fears and Misgivings. Arrival at the First Post 
Station. A Tea Drinking People. Travelling Throughout 
the Night. Some of the Discomforts I Endured. Forty-one 
Hours in a Tarantass. Arrival at Tieumen, Hungry, Sore and 
Intensely Miserable. A Dinner of Black Bread and Salt. A 
Talk with the Governor. His History Respecting the Origin 
of Banishment as a Punishment. Boris Godunoff's Idea. 
An Enforced Settlement of Siberia. Privileges of Village 
Courts. Offences Punishable by Deportation. Those in 
Exile Generally better Educated than the Masses. How 
Prisoners are Transported. Driven Two Thousand Miles 
Under the Stinging Lash. Witnessing the Departure of Ex- 
iles from Tieumen. Resumption of my Journey Eastward. 
Engaging a Tumbril. Bad News. Checked by a Swollen 
Stream. Trying to Pass the Rubicon. Capsized, Bag and 
Baggage, in a Swift-flowing Creek. Lost in the Jungles. 
A Night of Terror. The Most Miserable Twenty-four Hours 
of my Life. Appearance of a Tartar Belle. - - 259-277 


Arrival at Tobolsk. Description of the City. A Famous Bell that 
was Exiled with the Uglitch Insurrectionists. My First Insight 
into a Siberian Prison. How the Prisoners Labor. Punish- 
ment by the Knout. Heavy Manacles and Their Effects. 
Treatment of Female Convicts. Punishment with the Plete. 
Engagement of Another Interpreter. A Trip by Steamer from 


Tobolsk to Tomsk. The Ostjak People. How They 
Capture Fish in the Obi. - 277289 


Debarkation at Tomsk. How Russia Evades the Sacred Law. 
Description of the prisons in Tomsk. Departure for Krasno- 
iarsk by Tumbril. A Horrid Dream. Meeting with a 
Convoy of Prisoners. Tipping the Chief Guard. Heavy 
Shackles Worn by the Convicts. A Pitiable Instance of Mal- 
treatment. Examination of an Exile at a Post-Station. 
Mortified Ankles and Wrists with the Tendons Exposed. May 
I Never see Another Sight so Horrible. Appearance of a 
Female Convict in Irons. The Flesh Worn from Her Neck. 
Wives and Little Children Voluntarily Accompanying the Exiles. 



Inspection of the Prison at Krasnoiarsk. Convicts Driven to 
Insanity. A Hospital for Maniacs. The Chains not Removed 
from Exiles who Fall 111. A Sad Case in Point. Crossing the 
Yenisei River by Means of a Flying Bridge. Purchasing an 
Outfit in which to Visit Yeniseisk. A Trip Off the Highway. 
Camping Outin a Siberian Forest. What Was That? Ex- 
. citing Adventure with a Bear. Bear Hunting with Whips. 301 311 


Arrival at Yeniseisk. In the Midst of a Fur-bearing Country. 
Novel way of Catching Bears. Description of the Tundras. 
Frigidity that Freezes Those Who Read About It. Sledging and 
Camping in a Frozen Wilderness. Witnessing the Departure 
of Tunguese for Their Winter Hunt. Catching Sables. 
Elk Hunting. How Reindeer are Taken and Domesticated. 311 320 


Siberia Rich in Precious Metals. My Visit to a Mine Worked by 
Convict Labor. How the Mining is Conducted. Conveying 
Gold by Convoys to Irkoutsk. My Meeting With an 
Exile. Determined to Visit His Abode. Description 
of his Hut. The Exile's Story. Torn Away from 
Home and Sent into Exile Without Trial. Terrible Suffer- 


ings on the Transport Route. Sent Down into the Mines. 
Flagellation with the Scorpion. Tearing Pieces of Flesh out 
of the Back. A Pitiable Tale of Woe. Message Which the 
Exile Begged me Carry to his Wife. - - 320334 


Travelling in a Strange Country after Night. Wolves ! a Success- 
ful Shot. The Governor's Story. A Terrible Ride to Alex- 
andreffsky Prison. Chased by Wolves. Discharging the 
Last Shot. Attacked in the Troika. Down go the Outside 
Horses. Three Furious Wolves Drag the Driver From His 
Seat. Fighting with a Gun Barrel. The most Desperate 
Encounter ever Described. Succor Arrives, but too Late to 
Save the Horses and Driver. My Departure for Irkoutsk. 
Wolves on the Highway. Why I Slept in a Roadside Inn. 
Fast Travelling in Siberia. 334847 


Situation of Irlcoutsk. Attending the Races How Horses are 
Trained for Racing. Visit to the Prisons. Refused Ad'nis- 
sion. Meeting with an Exile from Kara. His Statements of 
How Prisoners are Treated at Kara. Brutalities of Vicious 
Guards. The Russian Law for Punishing Convicts. Proba- 
tionary Sentences. No Quick-Silver Mines in Siberia. 
Working Under Ground. Superstitions of Exiles. Political 
Offenders at Kara. The Prison Hospital. Punishments that 
Make Maniacs of the Convicts. Dreadful Sights in the Hospi- 
tals. Branding of Convicts. Dangers Incurred in Attempts 
to Escape. How I Verified Stories Told me by Exiles. - 347360 


The Native Tribes of Siberia. Prominence of the Ostjak People. 
How they Hunt and Fish. The Samoyeds. Kirghiz Tartars, 
Their Proclivities for Robbing and Fighting. The Buriats. 
The Goldi, Their Strange Burial Customs. The Gil yaks. 
Hunters and Polygamist?. Bear Hunting by Gilyaks. How 
They Capture the Most Dangerous Animals. Festival of Kill- 
ing the Bear. Strange Superstitions and Ceremonies. Ainu- 
lets of Bears' Claws. The Tunguse and Kirghiz. How 
they Live. - ..... 360374 



Making Irkoutsk my Headquarters. Cosmopolitan Character of 
the Place. Meeting With an American. His Description of 
the Island Sakhalein. Treatment of Exiles at the Dui Mines. 
Dreadful Cruelties Practiced on Exiles at the Dui Mines. 
Rewards Paid for the Heads of Escaping Convicts. How the 
Gilyaks Hunt Exiles. Description of the Natives on Sakha- 
lein. Nikolaefsk Prison. Insanity Caused by Brutal Treat- 
ment. Attempts to Escape. Killing Convicts for Their 
Clothes. Cannibalism Among a Battalion of Troops. Hor- 
rors of a Snow Storm. The Manzas Robbers. - - 874391 


Description of Yakoutsk. Belles of Yakoutsk Riding on Oxen 
Astride. The Coldest Spot on Earth. Killing of Reindeer 
by Yukaghirs. The Yakutes. Their Peculiar Customs. 
Riding Reindeer. Settlement of Yakoutsk by Exiles. The 
Scopsi. A Religious Sect that Practices Castration. Found- 
ing their Faith upon St. Matthew and St. Paul. Doctrines 
Expounded by Scopsi Priests. How the Operation of Castra- 
tion is Performed. Similar Practices in Italy and Turkey. 
Unsexing of Children for Mercenary Purposes. Penal Quar- 
ters at Villiski. - 391409 


Interesting Facts Concerning the Lena River. A Description of 
the Country which it Drains. Early Adventurers who Crossed 
Siberia. A Trip Around the World on Foot and by Ship. 
Three Famous Voyages Down the Lena. Discovery of Fossil 
Remains. A Chinese Legend of the Mammoth. Legend of 
the Samoyeds. A Winged Rhinoceros. Discovery of the 
Great Mammoth. Scientific Theories. An Island Formed of 
Mammoth Bones. Captain Nordenskj old's Voyage Through 
the Arctic Ocean and Down the Lena. - 409 423 


Other Penal Mines of Siberia. Dreadful Treatment of Convicts 
at Nertchinsk. Testimony of two Gentlemen who Visited the 
Mines. My Interview with Three Men who hud Served Long 


Sentences at Nertchinsk. Exiles Working Three Hundred 
Feet Underground. Never Permitted to see the Light of 
Day. Working While Weighted Down with Manacles. How 
the Men are Punished. Tied over a Beam and Whipped with 
the Scorpion. Drawn up and then Lacerated with the Knout. 
Beating Convicts into Insensibility or Insanity. Effects of 
Constant Labor in the Mines. Sights more Terrible than 
Dancing Skeletons. Witchcraft. Torturing Women Accused 
of Practising the Black Art. A Humane Spirit Extending 
Towards Siberia. - - 423-433 


Preparing for My Return to Russia. Troubles with My Bear 
Skin. Visit to the Convict Mines at Nijni Udinsk. Taking 
a New Route. Dreadful Exposures Experienced on the 
Return Journey. Virtues of My G-uide. Big Game. A 
Bare-Back Chase after Siberian Antelope. Wounding of a 
Big Buck. A Five Mile Race. Securing the Prize. Our 
Camp at Night. Arrival at Orenberg; its Peopler <and Fea- 
tures. The Long Bridge at Samara. Visit to > Serf 
Village. Great Changes that have Taken Place Since the 
Liberation. Relation of Noblemen and Peasants. Com- 
parison of Serfs with Southern Negroes. 433443 


Strange Superstitions Among the Peasantry. How Rooster Crow- 
ing is Interpreted. Pigeons Regarded as Holy Birds. 
Reverence for Icons. Haunted by Good and Evil Spirits. 
A Singular Sight I Witnessed in Moscow. The Black and 
White Clergy. Why the Serfs are so Poor. The Wonderful 
Splendor of Russian Churches. 'A Drunken Priesthood. 
Another Cause for Nihilism. One Hundred Annual Holi- 
days. Agriculture in Russia. Primitive Husbandry. 
Harvesting with Small Sickles. Threshing with Flails. 
Women in the Harvest Field, Decked in Gay Colors. Some 
of the Obstacles to Russian Farming. Division of Lands 
upon Communistic Principles. What Her Agriculturists 
Most Need. Natural Advantages of Russia. What a Great 
Country for Emigrants, if the Laws were Liberal. - 443452 



Renewing Relations with Count Tolstoi. Differences Between 
Moscow and St. Petersburg. Services at St. Isaac's Cathe- 
dral. Description of the Cathedral. Bowing Down Before 
Images. A Big Thing in Candles. Assuming an Attitude 
of Prayer Under Difficulties. Famous Russian Choirs. A 
Paralytic Carried to the Image of Christ. Faithful' Efforts 
but no Cures. A Te Deum in the Alexander Monastery Sung 
by Monks and Neophites. $25,000 for a Burial Place in the 
Monastery. Strange Incident in the Life of a Lady Superior. 
How she Spent $20,000,000 to Improve the Condition of the 
Poor. But the Money Belonged to the Church. Her Arrest, 
Trial, Conviction, and Sentence. Pardoned by the Emperor and 
Reinstated. Honored Above all Other Women. Description 
of the Monk Choir. Heavenly Music. My Entrancement. 
Singing for (rod and the Dead. Disturbance Created by the 
Employment of a Monk Tenor. An Ovation that was Next to 
a Riot. A Silver Sarcophagus Containing the Bones of a Pa- 
tron Saint. Trouble Caused Peter the Great by Priests who 
Stole the Sacred Bones. $250,000 for a Casket. 452462 


A Visit to the Cathedral Kazan. Canonization of Lady Kazan. 
Clothed with Vestments of Great Value, and Crowned with 
Precious Stones. A $100,000 Diamond, and a $500,000 
Sapphire. $200,000,000 Invested in Church Property. The 
Church Supported by Poor People. Holiday Celebrations. 
Ceremony of Blessing the Waters. Miraculous Properties 
Supposed to be Imparted by Priests. Bottling the Waters for 
Medicinal Purposes. Celebration of St. George's Day. 
Release of Domestic Animals that are Sprinkled with Holy 
Water. Observance of Recollection Monday. Paganish 
Rites in the Cemeteries. Revival of Old Jewish Customs. 
Shocking Bacchanalia in the Cemeteries. Drunkenness and 
Lewdness Among Priests and Parishioners. Charging a 
Fixed Fee for Prayers. No Middle Class in Russia. Govern- 
ment Taxes all Paid by the Poor How Guild Merchants are 

Created. Society in St. Petersburg. The Ten Command- 
ments of Catharine II. Requirements for Admission into So- 
ciety. Court Balls. Flagrant Conduct as Told in Strange 
Stories. Witnessing a Genuine Russian Dance. - 462 476 



Summer Cottages of the Kich at Parvelosk. Life in St. Peters- 
burg During Winter. The Two Principal Streets. Ice 
Palace on the Neva River and the Grand Balls Given in it. 
Courtship Marriage, and Domestic Life in Russia. Court- 
ing by Proxy. Beauty Among the Rich and Homeliness 
Among the Peasantry. Making Love Through Accordians. 
Fathers Courting for Their Sons. The Matchmaker. How 
This Professional Body Plies Her Arts. Fedotoff's Celebrat- 
ed Painting, With a Description. A Pleasing Description of a 
Russian Marriage. Eastern Customs in Russia. Who'll be 
My Butterfly? The Tribulations of Married Life. How 
Russians Chastise Their ' Wives. A Painful Incident. 
Women Declared by the Church to Have no Souls. Worked 
Harder Than Domestic Annimals. ... 476 492 


My Interview With Count Tolstoi Concerning the Jews. Indiffer- 
ence Manifested by the Government. The Czar's Personal 
Application to Kothschild for a Loan. Abrupt Termination 
'of the Interview. Count Ignatielf's Policy in Dealing With 
the Jews. How he Issued Dreadful Orders, But Prevented 
Their Execution. His Removal Accomplished by Jews. 
Bribery in the Imperial Court. Inability to Procure Informa- 
tion of Jewish Outrages in St. Petersburg. My Decision to 
Yisit Warsaw. Description of my Rail Journey From Mos- 
cow to Warsaw. Having no Interpreter I Fall into Trouble. 
Stopping the Train to Let the Passengers Get Drunk. Con- 
flict Between Passengers and Troops. How Railroading is 
Conducted in Russia. Ten Miles an Hour and no Sleeping- 
Car. Humorous Scene in a Brest Eating House. Why I 
Got up and Crowed Like a Rooster. Gaining a Sudden Popu- 
larity. - - 492500 


Arrival at Warsaw. Description of the City. Introduced to the 
Mayor and Other Functionaries. A Drive With the Mayor. 
Visit to Lazienski's Park. A Beautiful Lake and Two An- 



cient Palaces. Description of a Novel Theatre Which wa 
Built for Kings. Mementoes of a Q-lory Now Departed. 
Poland, the Hero's Elysian. Her History Written in 
Blood. Visit to Wilanow Palace. The Home of Sa' ienski, 
Poland's Greatest King. A Property That has Escaped uus- 
sian Confiscation. Sights in and Around the Palace. De- 
scription of Three Wonderful Sun-Clocks. A Drive Through 
the Jewish Quarters. Remarkable Homogeneity of the Race. 
How the Polish Jews Live, Dress, and do Business. Foul 
Smells From Foul Bodies. Certain Occasions When the Jews 
use Bacon. How They Enforce Recognition From the Aris- 
tocracy. - 500506 


Some of the Causes for Jewish Outrages. Fanatical Zeal and Love 
of Plunder. Dreadful Riot at Elizabethgrad. Thirty Jew- 
esses Outraged and Several Killed. Destruction of $1,000,000 
of Property. Proclamations Issued Declaring Russians Enti- 
tled to all Jewish Property. Mobs, Infuriated With Drink, 
Wreaking a Dreadful Vengeance. The Riot at Smielo in 
which Thirty Jews are Killed, and Sixteen Hundred Rendered 
Homeless. Terrible Massacre at Kiew. Soldiers Aiding the 
Mob. Refusal of the Governor to Protect the Jews. Out- 
rages at Kief. Stoning Children to Death, Murdering Old 
Men, Raping Women, and Burning Jewish Homes. 
Second Attack at Kief. Desolation Everywhere. Twelve 
Towns in Flames at one Time. Barrelling up Jews and Cast- 
ing Them Into the Dnieper. Outrages at Odessa. $1,500,000 
Worth of Property Destroyed, r- Third Attack at Kief. The 
Mob led by Merchants. The Sarah Bernhardt Riots at Warsaw 
and Kief. The Terrible Riots at Warsaw. Streets Deluged 
With Blood. Count Ignatieff Held Accountable. Soldiers 
Uniting With the Mob. No Protection for the Jews. - 606618 


The "Red Cock " Crowing Over Fifteen Towns. Attacks on the 
Jews of all Western Russia. 6,000 Jews driven From Their 
Homes in Minsk, and Their Houses Burned. $80,000,000 
Worth of Property Destroyed. Red-Handed Murder. Lurid 
Faced Arson and Foul Visaged Outrage Stalking Through 
Every Jewish Village. 100,000 Jewish Families Reduced to 
Beggary. Governors of Provinces, Government Officers and 


Troops all Encouraging the Mobs. 4,000 Jews Expelled Prom 
Kief. A Government Fine for Harboring Jews Over 
Night. A Governor Ordering 5,000 Jews to Quit His Prov- 
ince. Sad Scenes of the Last Meetings of Jews in Their 
Synagogues. Issuance of a Singular .Rescript. The Gov- 
ment's Reply to Jewish Complaints. Charging the Jews with 
Monopolizing Trade and of Swindling Russian Subjects. 
Appointment of Commissions to Investigate the Causes of Anti- 
Semitic Prejudices. Dismissal of Commissions That had Made 
Their Reports Favorable to the Jews. Observations on the 
Short-Comings of the Government. Are Three and One-Half 
Millions of People to Perish Because They are Jews? - 618530 


Distribution of the Jews. Poles and Jews Generally Harmonize. 
Influence of Mussulmans in the Caucasus. Singular Preju- 
dices at Odessa. Other Nationalities than Russians Opposing 
the Jews. Causes Assigned. The Cry of "Mad-Dog." 
Charges Made Against the Jews. Do they Violate the 
Laws? My Experience with Russians. A Land Cursed by 
Swindlers. An Irish Millionaire's Experience ; Laughable, 
but Typical. The September Proclamation Against the 
Jews Indefensible. A National and Governmental Weak- 
ness. Jews No Worse than Russians. Christians Placed in 
a Bad Light. How Italians Beat the Jews. A Means by 
which Russians Might Correct the Evils now Complained Of. 
A Lesson for Russia and Germany. - - 630 535 


Review of My Trip Through Russia and Sibria. The Largest 
Nation on Earth. The Russians and the Turks. Hideous 
Evidence of Muscovite Valor. Meaning of the Word Czar. 
The Czar "Above All," and Chief Counsellor of Deity. Ig- 
norance and Slavery of the Russian Masses. Bound JDown by 
Church and State. Poverty-Stricken and Debt-Ridden. 
Church Indulgences and Government Corruptions. What 
Russia Must Do to Place Herself on an Equality with Other 
Civilized Nations. Nihilism Apparently her only Hope. - 636 < 



Portrait of the Author FRONTISPIECE. 

View of Cronstadt from the East 34 

Custom-house Examination, St. Petersburg 36 

Street Scene, Showing Droshkies and Drivers 38 

Suspected Peasants Before the Third Section 40 

Count D. R. Tolstoi, Minister of the Interior 43 

U. S. Minister W. H. Hunt 45 

V. Pleve, Minister of the Secret Police 49 

Holy Mountain Near Kief 52 

Holy City of Kief 54 

Principal Street of Kief 56 

Christening a .Royal Infant . . . . . . . .59 

Pyrotechnic Display in Honor of a Royal Birth 61 

Peter the Great Vanquishing his Would-Be Assar- i K ... 63 

Eexcution by Decapitation of 300 Conspirators . . . . . 66 
Ropscha Palace, Where Peter III. Was Strangled . . . .74 

Scene in a Serf Village 83 

Serfs Celebrating Liberation Day 85 

A Russian Noble Lady, XVI. Century 88 

Arrest of a Revolutionary Student ' 90 

The Czar Declaring the Freedom of Bulgaria 101 

Vera Zassulitch 104 

Conducting Solovieff to Execution 109 

Execution of Solovieff . Ill 

House from Which the Dynamite Mine was Laid .... 114 

Reception of the Czar after the Railway-Mine Explosion . . . 116 



Effects of the Explosion 118 

A Te Deum in the Winter Palace . 121 

Night Patrol in St. Petersburg 125 

Execution of Kviatkovski and Presnhkov , 127 

Portraits of Nine Leading Nihilists 12 i 

Leo Hurtmann 131 

Gen. Loris Melikoff 134 

Conducting MelikoflTs Assailant to Execution 135 

City of Tiflis 137 

Street Along the Catharine Canal 139 

Cellar Room from Whence the Mine was Laid 141 

Explosion of the Second Dynamite Bomb 142 

Scene Immediately after the Explosion ../... 144 

Appearance of the Emperor's Carriage 145 

Conveying the Wounded Czar to the Palace 14 3 

View in Alexander Palace, at the Moment of the Emperor's Death . 143 

Swearing Allegiance to the New Czar 150 

Alexander III. Accepting the Imperial Crown 152 

Kemains of the Emperor Lying in State 153 

The Fortress Chapel ! 155 

Tomb of the Emperor 156 

Uncovering the Dynamite Mine 157 

The Czar's Study . . 159 

Driving Alexander HI. to His Palace .161 

Trial of the Emperor's Assassins 163 

Execution of the Emperor's Assassins 165 

Memorial Chapel where the Czar Fell 167 

Portraits of Eight Leading Female Nihilists 176 

Execution of Soukahnoff 178 

View of Moscow from the Moska Bridge 181 

Gatchina Palace 183 

Women on a Pilgrimage to Moscow 185 

Police Surveillance 210 

Mineral Spring where the Czar Bathed 213 

Arrest of Goldenberg 220 



Precautions Against Nihilists . . 235 

Central Dismissal Prison, Moscow 238 

Last Partings at the Dismissal Prison . 240 

Alexander III. and the Empress Entering Moscow .... 242 

Great Bell and Tower at Moscow 244 

Familiar Scenes at the Nijni Novgorod Fair 247 

Wooden Church in Nijni Novgorod 249 

View of the Great Central Square, Moscow 251 

Principal Church in Perm 254 

City of Nijni Tagilsk 256 

The Demi doff' Mine, Ekaterineberg 258 

The Tarantass . .260 

View of Tieumen 263 

Portions of Tieumen Overflowed 265 

Convict Barge on the Kama River 269 

Prisoners Leaving Tieumen for Eastern Siberia 271 

Travelling by Tumbril 273 

Upper and Lower Towns of Tobolsk 278 

Administering the Knout 281 

A Convict Laborer in Irons 283. 

City of Tobolsk from the Irtysh River 285 

Russianized Ostjaks 288 

The Gostinnoi Dvor at Tomsk 291 

View of South Side of Tomsk 293 

Post Station and Church on the Highway 296 

A Shackled Convict, on the Transport Route 299 

A Convalescent Prisoner in Irons 302 

"Waiting to be Ferried Across the Yenisei River 30-"> 

Siberian Roadside Inn 307 

Bear Hunting with Whips .310 

Hunting Reindeer on the Tundras . . . . . . .314 

Gold Mine on the Vitim River 321 

Gold Train in a Snow Storm 823 

Arrest of the Pole and his Brother 327 

City of Nijni Udinsk 330 



The Exile's Abode 332 

Courier Chased by Wolves 835 

Alexandreffsky Central Prison 837 

The Treasury and Governor's House 841 

The G-overnor's Race with Wolves . . . . . . .843 

City of Irkoutsk 346 

Horse Racing at Irkoutsk 849 

Gold Mine and Washing House at Kara 851 

Ostjaks in Winter Dress 361 

Samoyeds from the Lower Yenisei 362 

Kirghiz Tartars Abducting Thibetan Women 864 

A Goldi Dead House 866 

Goldi in Winter Dress 367 

Group of Gilyaks 369 

Festival of Killing the Bear 370 

A Tunguse Family and Birch-Bark Tent 872 

Views of Irbit . ,. .375 

Arrival of Gold Dust at Irkoutsk 876 

Ainos, Aborigines of Sakhalein 878 

Great Fire at Irbit, April 29, 1879 380 

Military Post at Dui, Sakhalein 382 

Views on the Island of Sakhalein 884 

Killing Escaping Convicts for their Clothes ... .. . .386 

The Etape Prison, Nikolaefsk .387 

Vladivostock, Chief Russian Port on the Pacific . . 389 

A Corean House in Vlaclivostock 390 

Exiles on the Island of Sakhalein ... ... 392 

View of the City of Yakoutsk 894 

Views of the Abodes of the Exiles near Yiikoutsk .... 897 

Penal Quarters at Yakoutsk 400 

Exiles' Houses on the Lena, Houses of Driod Dung . . . 403 

Scopsi Colony Houses Near Yakoutsk 405 

Scenes in Villiski 408 

Yakute and Reindeer 411 

Kirghiz of Northern Siberia 414 



Placer Q-old Mines of Malopatomski 424 

Town and Principal Place of Upper Vidinski . 427 

Branding a Woman Convicted of Witchcraft 432 

Departure from Irkoutsk 434 

Mining and Way Station on the Route to Siberia .... 436 

Siberian Antelopes 439 

Kail way Bridge Across the Volga at Samara, the Longest Bridge in the 

World 441 

Eussiun Agriculture 447 

St. Isaac's Cathedral 454 

Ceremony of Blessing the Waters 464 

Ceremony of Blessing the Cows 467 

A Kussian Peasant Village 468 

Celebrating Kecollection Monday in the Smolensk! Cemetery . . 470 

A Ball in the Winter Palace .472 

View on Nevskoi Prospekt at the Bridge over St. Catharine Canal . 477 

A Russian Courtship 481 

The Matchmaker 483 

Easter Customs in Russia 490 

Scene in an Eating Station at Brest ....... 498 

Jewish Synagogue at Orel 623 

A Typical Jewish Peddler . . .685 




No country on the world's broad atlas, whether civil- 
ized or unexplored, presents so many interesting and 
anomalous phases as does Russia and its immense de- 
pendency, Siberia. The very mention of this latter 
tract of desert waste, its illimitable snow-fields, scintil- 
lating under a fugitive sun or stretching away in solemn 
shadows under a leaden sky until it infringes upon a cir- 
cumambient horizon, excites our wonder and gives us the 
one idea of dreariness. But ah ! not only is the wilder- 
ness of Siberia's vast and lonely plain a topic which may 
infuse the humblest pen with power to write a stirring 
chapter on wild nature, ferocious beasts, and storm-beaten 
shores freighted with wrecks of hardy adventurers ; would 
that there were no more horrible stones of fact connected 
with the history of that country which, from infancy, has 
been an immense prison, or battle-ground a grave-yard 
of men's ambitions, the penal ground for patriotic expia- 
tion ! The MIXES ! There is no word that so thrills the 
Russian heart as this. " To the Bastile!" uttered during 
the most dreadful days in French history, carried with it 
but the shadow of a horror compared with that awful 
sentence: "To the Mines of Siberia!" in Russia. In 
France, Marat could only order his victims guillotined, 
and death ca:ne speedily and painlessly. But in Siberia 


t litre the kaout and other instruments of torture add- 
ed to the sentence which confined men and women to a 
life in the mines, where no light of day was ever permit- 
ted to enter, and where the voice of lamentation could 
never reach a sympathetic ear. 

The history of Russia, such as has already been writ- 
ten, possesses for me an interest felt for that of no other 
country ; and since the revolutionary crisis, which had its 
beginning or origin in the emancipation proclamation of 
Alexander II., such startling events have occurred in that 
nation that, being without parallel, they have focused the 
interest of the world, until to-day the Czar's dominions 
have become a country so alien in all its aspects of civil- 
ization, and rent internally by such horrible atrocities, 
that its current history is a story replete with exciting sit- 
uations and horrifying culminations. 

To obtain a true conception of Russia's policy, of her 
insubordinate elements, of the Nihilistic demonstrations, 
of her administration in dealing with the revolutionists, 
and lastly, of the exile life led by so many thousand 
persons in Siberia, I personally visited that country under 
auspices peculiarly favorable for the acquisition of infor- 
mation I specially desired. Before leaving America I 
made application to Gen. Green B. Raum, Commissioner 
of Internal Revenue, Washington, D. C., with whom I 
have enjoyed an intimate acquaintance since boyhood, for 
such letters of introduction to our representatives in Rus- 
sia as he might feel disposed to give. The application 
brought a response more favorable than I had expected, 
for forthwith he requested the Secretary of State to give 
me a letter which would secure for me the consideration 
of our Russian Minister, and, added to this, the General 
kindly wrote a personal letter to Minister Hunt, which 
accredited correspondence is herewith appended : 



WASHINGTON, D. C., ;June 21, 1882. / 

The Honorable 


St. Petersburg. 

At the request of the Honorable Green B. Raum, I introduce to 
your acquaintance and commend to your courtesy the bearer of this 
letter, Mr. James W. Buel of St. Louis, Mo., who is about to visit 
Russia for the purpose of observing and writing upon the institutions 
of that country. 

I am Sir, 
Your obedient servant, 


Acting Secretary. 

At the time of writing this letter, Mr. Davis informed 
me that as Mr. Hunt had only recently received the ap- 
pointment as Minister to Kussia, and had only departed 
t\vo weeks previously to take up his official residence, 
it was probable that I would find Hon. Wickham Hoff- 
man still acting Charge d" Affaires on my arrival at St. 
Petersburg, so he kindly gave me the following addition- 
al letter : 


WASHINGTON, D. C., June 21st, 1882. / 
Etc., Etc., Etc. 

St. Petersburg. 

At, the request of the Honorable Green B. Raum, I introduce to 
your acquaintance and commend to your courtesy the bearer of this 
letter, Mr. James W. Buel, of St. Louis, Mo., who is about to visit 
Jldssia for the purpose of observing and writing upon the institutions 
i .f that country. 

I am Sir,, 

Your obedient servant, 


Acting Secretary. 

Upon showing my letters from the State Department to 
Gen. Eaum he at once wrote and handed me the follow- 
ing : 



WASHINGTON, June 21, 1882. 


U. S. Minister to Russia, 

St. Petersburg, Russia. 
Dear Sir : 

Mr. James W. Buel bears letters of introduction to yourself and to 
Mr. Hoffman from Hon. J. Bancroft Davis, acting Secretary of State. 
I write to commend Mr. Buel to your favorable consideration, 
and to request that you will introduce him into official circles so as to 
enable him to make a study of the Russian Government and Russian 

I have known Mr. Buel [from boyhood and know that he visits 
Russia with the best intentions. He will be no agitator against the 
Government, as some Americans have been in Ireland, and he will not 
betray any just confidence that may be reposed in him by the author- 
ities. I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully, 


With this courteous correspondence I felt assured that, 
notwithstanding the difficulties which attached to the 
mission I was about to undertake, my investigations could 
be prosecuted without fear of serious molestation, for I 
considered these letters an implied promise from my gov- 
ernment to protect me so long as I committed 110 overt 
act against Russia, or manifested no revolutionary sympa- 
thy, although hundreds of persons have felt the heavy 
hand of the Czar's police for much less offence than an 
inquiry respecting Nihilism, two of which instances I 
must refer to : 

Some time during the year 1881 an American citizen 
arrived in St. Petersburg, as a seaman, without a pass- 
port. Without reporting his case to our Minister or per- 
mitting him to send any communication to our represent- 
ative, the Russian authorities searched the unfortunate 
man and found upon his person a letter of recommenda- 
tion from his employers certifying to his sober and indus- 


trious qualities. This letter was from the Kemington 
Fire Arms Company, and this trivial fact the Russian of- 
ficers used as a pretext for holding the man as a suspect. 
They said : " You are a revolutionist, and have been en- 
gaged making cartridges and arms for the Turkish Gov- 
erment to be used against us." They argued this way 
because the Turkish Government during the war with 
Russia had purchased large quantities of war munitions 
from Remington & Sons. The poor fellow was taken to 
the Fortress prison and there confined on a diet of bread 
and water for an entire week before the facts accident- 
ally came to the knowledge of our Charge d' Affaires, 
who fiercely remonstrated at the outrage, whereupon the 
innocent captive was liberated. 

Another instance of even greater hardship and injus- 
tice, is the present confinement of a Jewish- American 
citizen who entered Siberia without a special permit from 
the Imperial Police, not knowing that such was required. 
It is easy to pass the Russian frontier into Siberia, but it 
is a most perplexing and next to impossible matter to get 
out again, and this American Jew having business in Si- 
beria, and being provided with a passport into Russia, in- 
nocently crossed the Urals, and at the first place he was 
called upon to show his papers, he was apprehended and 
thrown into solitary confinement, where he remained for 
six months, notwithstanding the correspondence that has 
passed between the Russian authorities and our minister 
concerning his imprisonment. It is but justice to state, 
however, that Minister Hunt expressed to me his doubts 
about the prisoner being an American citizen, though he 
claims protection from our government ; but the hard- 
ships and injustice complained of grow out of the priso- 
ner's inability, through lack of any privileges, to prove 
his citizenship beyond the passport he held, which, how 


ever, is not received as evidence because the period of its 
effectiveness had expired at the time of his arrest, pass- 
ports being good for only six months from the date af- 
fixed to the visa Russian consul's certificate. 

Many other instances of intolerance might, and will be 
cited in the following chapters, and hundreds of cases of 
unmerciful injustice will be described to show how Rus- 
sia maintains her autocracy and martial law, while her 
people groan beneath the burdens of misgovernrnent and 
repression . 

Several books on life in Russia and Siberia have 
appeared since the Turko-Russian war, but few that I 
have read treat the subject in a manner that sug- 
gests a personal visit to those countries by the authors. 
Mackenzie Wallace wrote a very excellent and reliable 
work on Russia, but it appeared before the war, and 
though a standard history at the time of its first publica- 
tion, it cannot be accepted as a history of Russia of to- 
day, so great have the changes been since that time. 
During the present year a work has appeared from the 
pen of Henry Lansdell, entitled "Through Siberia," 
that has met with much favor because it treats of a coun- 
try about which so little is known, and because the au- 
thor claims to have been a missionary and philanthropist. 
The facts are, however, that this work, I know, from 
observations made while in Siberia, to be a pure fiction 
so far as it relates to convict life ; its statements concern- 
ing the prisons of Siberia are almost as wide of the 
truth as any of Munchausen's choice yarns. I do not say 
this through any prejudice, because I never saw Mr. Lans- 
dell, and therefore have no private reasons for condemn- 
ing his work. The London Graphic, reviewing the 
book, pronounces it an aggregated canard throughout. 
But I particularize Mr. Lansdell' s fault only because my 


declarations and descriptions in the succeeding pages are 
directly opposite to his assertions respecting the treatment 
of exile prisoners in Siberia, and because the Russian 
Government, having endorsed his work, might lead un- 
thinking readers to suspect me of misrepresentations ; I 
therefore write this to anticipate any reflections of this 
character. I was told by many prominent persons in 
Russia that the Government purchased several thousand 
copies of Mr. Lausdell's book and has been active in 
circulating it through several countries, because it repre, 
sents convict life in Siberia as an existence of elegant 
ease and epicurean luxury, while it greatly disparages the 
treatment of prisoners in England and America. 

What I have written concerning Russia is wholly 
without malice, for I must acknowledge a treatment 
while in that country of rare courtesy and consideration. 
I can in a great measure excuse the Government for the 
policy it pursues in dealing with its criminals. I can 
readily understand how difficult it is for a ruler educated 
to autocracy ; one whose remote ancestors were Czars 
before him, with power so absolute as to repel advice 
from their own counsellors, except as it was asked for ; 
one who has been reared in the belief that all the world 
owes homage to him I can understand why such an one 
refuses his ear to the complaints of his subjects, particu- 
larly when they demand a constitution which would lead 
to an abridgment of the crown prerogatives whilst con- 
ferring the first taste of liberty to a people who never 
drew a breath of freedom. Besides, to acknowledge the 
policy of a revolutionary body, however weak, is always 
a dangerous precedent, and destructive in its influences. 
France is an illustration of this fact, and governments 
have ever regarded it safer to employ the full strength of 
their opposition by arms, rather than recognize any prin- 


ciple, however inconsequential, when incorporated in an 
edict promulgated by insurrectionists. In this is found 
ample reason why the Czar confronts Nihilism with ar- 
mor and steel, and this has brought on an internecine 
conflict which fills the very atmosphere of Russia with 
blood, and stamps every highway in that miserable na- 
tion with red-handed murder. 

It is my purpose to describe, in a dispassionate, ungar- 
nished way, the crimes of Nihilism, to give some of the 
previously unwritten history of Russia, and to truthfully 
tell what I know concerning exile life in Siberia, with ob- 
servations on the people and mode of living in that won- 
derful country. I have had every advantage for ascer- 
taining all the facts, and am frank to say that no ex- 
cuse is left me if I have made a single misstatement in the 
narrative following. 

J. W. BUEL. 



I left America on the twenty-fourth day of June, for 
St. Petersburg, going by way of London, thence to Hull, 
and at the latter English port I engaged passage on a 
Wilson line steamer (Marsden) which took me by way of 
the North and Baltic seas. The latter part of the voyage 
was particularly pleasant, and occupied less than six 
days. We put into the port of Cronstadt, which is eigh- 
teen miles from St. Petersburg, as, owing to the extreme 
shallow water, vessels of any considerable burden cannot 
approach nearer the Russian capital. Cronstadt is a 
small town built upon an island, but though it has no 
natural defences, .it is next to Gibralter in fortress 
strength. Stretching across the Finland mouth to the 
two mainlands, are ten forts of almost impregnable 
strength, and counting the island fort of solid masonry 
there are mounted more than one thousand immense 
guns, the fire from all of which may be concentrated on 
any point of entrance to the Gulf. So perfect are the 
defences that no fleet, however powerful, could approach 
within effective range of St. Petersburg without first de- 
stroying the ten strongest artificial forts of the world ; 
while to these defences is added a channel of only nine 
feet, which makes the city safe from invasion by sea. 
A canal is now being dug, however, by American contrac_ 



tors, from opposite Peterhoff to the Neva, which will 
admit heavy ocean tonnage, but it will be guarded by the 
strongest engines of war that can be brought into requi- 

Upon landing at Cronstadt our vessel was boarded by 
five customs officials and passport examiners, one of 
whom detected an informality in my passport, which 
caused my apprehension as a " suspect." When leaving 
Washington City I neglected to have the Russian Con- 
sul's visa affixed to my papers, and this omission sub- 
jected me to much suspicion from a Government that 
naturally supposes every one a revolutionist who is not 
burdened with incontestible proofs of innocence. 

I would never have been permitted to set foot in Russia 
but for the letters I bore from the State and Treasury 
Departments, upon the presentation of which I was given 
a paper containing my promise to report in person at 
the Third Section in St. Petersburg, on the following morn- 
ing. I was then allowed to proceed to the city and take 
lodgings at the Hotel de France, but under the surveil- 
lance of the Imperial Police. No hotel in Russia is allowed 
to entertain any one, whether a native or foreign sub- 
ject, without first securing their passport, which must be 
registered with the police, and the names of all guests 
must be prominently posted on a blackboard in the hotels 
where any one entering can see them. 

I, together with the other passengers, was taken up to 
the city in a tender and landed at the Custom House. 
Being wholly unacquainted with the Russian language, I 
would have fared badly but for assistance tendered me 
by a fellow-passenger who kindly spoke for me. Ev- 
ery bit of paper I had, on which there was any writing, 
was critically examined by a score of underlings and then 
conveyed to a higher functionary for inspection and 


judgment. My things were unceremoniously dumped out 
and all articles of clothing were searched with the care 
an old soldier manifests when looking for carnivorous in- 

After undergoing the customs examination, I passed out 
into the street and was immediately received by a galling 
lire of solicitations from droshky drivers, whose unintelli- 
gible jabbering and strong entreaties so confounded me 
that I knew not what; to do, as my friend had disappeared, 
leaving me in a condition which I may well explain as 
tongues and lungs everywhere but not a voice to speak to 
me intelligently. 

If there is anything that will make a cynic laugh or 
startle a cosmopolite with wonder, it is a droshky driver 
in his quizzical tout ensemble. The municipal law requires 
him to wear a large, dark-blue stole, gathered at the waist 
by a band, and on his head he wears a covering which is 
half hat and half cap ; from under this quaint head- 
gear emerges a profuse quantity of hair cut in a sharp 
line all round. Hair cutters in Russia use a large cup 
which is inverted and placed over their customer's head, 
and then, with a large pair of shears, they trim squarely 
around the cup's edge. The result must necessarily be 
comical, especially since among no other people does the 
hair grow so abundantly. 

When I was first assailed by these peculiar, monkish- 
appearing, but good-natured fellows, and had taken a 
good look at their peculiar little vehicles, I could not re- 
frain from laughter, at which, like a number of imitative 
apes, they fell to laughing also. After several minutes 
spent in contemplating my unhappy condition, the gentle- 
man who had assisted me in the Custom House, appeared 
again, and engaging a carriage we drove together to the 
Hotel de France, where I was duly registered. My next 



step was to engage a guide, which I found in the person 
of Charles Kuntze, a German who could speak several 
languages, whose services to me became absolutely ines- 

It so happened that at the time of my arrival in St. 
Petersburg, Minister Hunt had not yet reached the 


tal, and Charge cT Affaires Hoffman was on a brief visit 
to Finland ; I therefore had no other resource left me ex- 
cept to obey orders and trust to luck. In obedience to in- 
structions I called at the Third Section, where I was as- 
sured that my passport would be waiting me, but I was 
referred to another place, and from there to still another, 
and then back again to the Third Section. This shuttle- 
cock business continued active for four days, when at 
length I found that it was a way they had in Russia ; that 
I was thus kept in momentary expectancy until the au- 
thorities could take information on me and definitely de- 
termine my business in the country. At the expiration 
of the fourth day Mr. Hoffman returned, and upon re- 
porting my case to him he immediately procured my 
passport and relieved me from further police surveillance. 
The Third Section is one of the most noted institu- 
tions in Russia ; simple, unpretentious in title, but within 
its now crumbling walls have been enacted some of the 
most shocking tragedies known in history. It is a build- 
ing occupying one entire square and divided off into pub- 
lic offices, audience chambers, and prisons, though it is 
no longer used for the detention of criminals. Under 
the iron rule of Nicholas I., those who were ordered to the 
Third Section rarely ever breathed the air of freedom 
again, their sentence being either death or transportation . 
The place derives its name from, the fact that the city 
was formerly divided into three police districts, all under 
the Minister of Police, whose office was in the Third Sec- 
tion. It is told by those resident of St. Petersburg at 
the time that Emperor Nicholas I. had a private office in 
the Third Section where it was his custom to repair at a 
certain hour each day for the purpose of keeping him- 
self thoroughly advised 011 all matters appertaining to the 
police administration. It is also declared that there was 



a trap door in the floor of his office which was used for a 
singular purpose, viz: when any female member of the 
reigning family was discovered inveighing against his ad- 
ministration which was by no means an uncommon oc- 
currence the offender was ordered to appear before him 
at his office. When there he gave such persons much 
fatherly advice about their transgressions and, at a sig- 
nal, the trap door, upon which they were made uncon- 
sciously to stand, suddenly gave way precipitating the 
woman to her arm-pits. While in this constrained posi- 
tion, unable to move, she was severely lashed by a per- 
son stationed underneath. In this wise the offender 
was prevented from knowing who was administering the 
castigation, nor could the person below know whom he 
was punishing. 

Upon meeting Mr. Hoffman I presented him with the 
letters I bore, as already quoted, and then asked him for 
such advice as he might give that would be serviceable to 
me. His reply was a genuine surprise, and one which I 
am not likely to forget soon. Said he : 

" Your purpose, I discover from Gen. Raum's letter, 
is to gather facts concerning Nihilism." 

1 told him that was chiefly the object of my visit to 
Russia, whereupon he replied : 

" If my advice is worth anything, I will freely give it 
to you, and it is this : stop where you are; don't take the 
first step toward investigating that subject. The reason 
I thus advise you is because Russia is under martial law 
and the least .suspicion excited against one here is liable 
to be followed by arrest, and once in the toils it is next to 
impossible to get out. It matters not how much any 
government may remonstrate against the arrest of its 
subjects, Russia is not prone to regard them. So, for your 
own safety, I say abandon the idea of investigating Ni- 
hilism while on Russian soil." 


I thanked Mr. Hoffman for his well-intended advice, 
and then replied : 

" You put the matter in a very gloomy light indeed, 
much worse than I expected ; nevertheless, I don't be- 
lieve it is customary for an American citizen to give up 
a mission that he has set his head and heart upon per- 
forming, because the sun has set before his face." 

He was evidently pleased with my answer, though he 
sympathized with my poor judgment, for at once he prof- 
fered such services as he was able to give, and promised 
to look after me if I should suddenly disappear. At my 
request he then wrote me the following letter to Count 
Tolstoi, Minister of the Interior, who is also acting 
Prime Minister. During the enforced retirement of Al- 
exander III. Count Tolstoi is practically the Czar of Rus- 
sia, all audiences on Imperial business being held with 
the Count and by him communicated personally to the 


ST. PETERSBURG, July 21, \ , QC 
August 2d, / 1} 

His Excellency, COUNT TOLSTOI, 

Minister of the Interior. 

Mr. James W. Buel, a citizen of the United States, has come to St. 
Petersburg, bringing to Mr. Hunt and myself letters of introduction 
from the Secretary of State at Washington, stating that Mr. Buel 
comes to Russia with a view of observing and writing upon the insti- 
tutions of this country, and commending him to our courtesy. 

Mr. Buel himself tells me that his work is upon Communism in the 
United States, and that in this connection he desires to investigate 
Communism in other countries under whatever forms it may exist. 
For this purpose he desires access to certain unpublised documents. 
Will your Excellency kindly give him such facilities for his work as 
you may deem proper, and may feel at liberty to give. 

I take this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance 
of my distinguished consideration. 



Minister of the Interior and Chief Councillor of the Czar, 


Before leaving St. Petersburg in August, for Siberia, 
Hon. W. H. Hunt arrived in the Russian capital, and pre- 
sented his credentials as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the Court at St. Petersburg. I had a 
very pleasant interview with him, and through him and 
Count Tolstoi my request for an interview with the Czar 
was communicated. Two days later his Excellency, V. 
Pleve, presented me with an answer from the Czar, who 
expressed regrets that he was holding his annual confer- 
ence at Gatchina Palace with his Generals, which would 
not be concluded for twelve days, but at the expiration 
of that time it would give him great pleasure to re- 
ceive me. My time was too limited to admit of so long 
a delay, as I had already made my preparations and en- 
gaged an interpreter in Moscow to accompany me on my 
tour through Siberia. 

Upon my return to St. Petersburg, in October, I again 
called on Minister Hunt, who gave me the following let- 
ter : 


ST. PETERSBURG, October 3, \ 1QQO 
October 15, / 1} 

The undersigned lias the honor to present to his Excellency Count 
Tolstoi, Minister of the Interior, Mr. J. W. Buel, a citizen of the 
United States, who, it is believed, has already been accredited to his 
Excellency by the late acting Charge d' Affaires of this Legation. 

Mr. Buel is the bearer of letters from several distinguished func- 
tionaries in the United States, who vouch for .his reliability and com- 
mend him to consideration. Having occasion to obtain some inform- 
ation from the authorities of His Imperial Majesty's Government, 
Mr. Buel is d -sirous of obtaining an interview with His Excellency, 
which the undersigned trusts may b^ accorded him. 

The undersigned avails himself of the opportunity to renew to His 
Exce Jency the assurances of his distinguished consideration. 

Envoy Extraordinary, Etc., Etc., 

of the United States of America. 





It is the etiquette of the Court that when a foreign 
subject desires an interview with any member of the 
Imperial Court, his request must come through a letter 
from the representative of the country to which the 
applicant belongs, although he may have been previously 
recommended. This is the reason this, second letter 
from the Legation was obtained and presented. The two 
dates affixed to these letters represent the difference be- 
tween the English and Eussian calendars, the latter still 
holding to the ancient style, which is twelve days behind 
the calendars of all other civilized nations. 

At this season Minister Tolstoi, who had his resi- 
dence in the suburbs of St. Petersburg, gave audi- 
ences only twice each week, and as I was misinformed 
as to the days he had set for this purpose, it was not un- 
til the third day that I called to present my letter. It 
chanced, however, that the Count was not in, but I was re- 
ceived, nevertheless, by His Excellency, Y. Pleve, Direc- 
tor of the Ministry of the Interior and Privy Counsellor to 
the Emperor, and Minister of Police. I was pleased to 
find him a very affable gentleman, and through my inter- 
preter he promised me every aid I might require in pros- 
ecuting my investigations. After conversing with him 
for several minutes he made an engagement to meet me 
again on the following day, and also to present me to the 
Prefect of Police on the Monday following this being 

At the time appointed I met the Minister of Police 
again, and also the Prefect of Police, both of whom 
gave me considerable information, and at their request 
I submitted in writing a series of questions on Nihil- 
ism, the answers to which they promised to give me 
on the Wednesday following. Parting with them I left 
my letter of introduction with Count Tolstoi's secretary, 


and on the succeeding day received a note from the 
Count, written in French, saying he would be pi eased to 
see me at his office at eleven o'clock, Tuesday. 

I was punctual in keeping the appointment, but upon 
presenting my card to his valet I was told that it was et- 
iquette of the Court to receive only persons with whom 
appointments are previously made, and that no one is ad- 
mitted unless he appear in Court dress dress suit. 
Though embarrassed somewhat at first, I was equal to the 
occasion, for I sent my regrets to the Count, coupling 
them with the observation that in America every citizen 
is a sovereign, and that with us dress suits are used only 
on party occasions ; that it was with t inexpressible cha- 
grin I was compelled to acknowledge the fact that I nev- 
er owned a dress suit. In a moment after, the valet re- 
turned and ushered me into the Count's presence, who 
advanced and greeted me in so cordial a manner, 
laughingly commenting upon his valet's rigid Court man- 
nerism, that I entirely forgot the presence of royalty, 
and entered into conversation with a freedom from all re- 

Count Tolstoi spoke with some warmth concerning the 
reflections cast upon Russia by other civilized countries, 
and earnestly denied the insinuation that the administra- 
tion was lacking in mercy or that every measure and pol- 
icy pursued was not thoroughly justified. He complained 
that Russia was the most misrepresented country on 
the globe, and as an earnest of his assertions he prof- 
fered to me any assistance I might need to learn any and 
all facts appertaining to Nihilism, and the manner in which 
the laws are administered. He gave me access to the Im- 
perial Library containing all the political records, and as- 
sured me that I might talk and enquire about Nihilism 
without the least fear of molestation, though he admitted 


that without a disclosure of my purpose I might have en- 
countered some trouble. My sole purpose in visiting the 
Count was to procure from him a promise that I would 
not be subjected to suspicion or annoyance by reason of 
any inquiries I might institute, and to this end I frankly 
told him the purposes of my visit and promised to treat 
Nihilism in my work with all the fairness that my com- 
prehension of the subject permitted. Before leaving him 
he asked me as a favor to incorporate in my book the 
Government's position taken in the four leading politi- 
cal trials, viz : the trial of the Emperor's assassins; of 
those suspected of attempting to blow up the Winter 
Palace; of the assassins of Gen. Melikoff ; and the trial 
of Yera Zassulitch, who shot Gen. Trepoff, Minister of 
Police. I told him I should be glad to do him such a 
favor if he would prepare the matter ; this he agreed to 
do, and to transmit the manuscript through our consul to 
me in America, which promise, however, he did not ful- 
fill, and I am therefore absolved from the obligation. 

On Wednesday, the day following my interview with 
Count Tolstoi, I called on Minister Pleve again, who gave 
me answers to the questions I had prepared, but they 
were of an indefinite character, in fact evasive, and of 
no value, though Count Tolstoi had also promised that 
the questions I had submitted with one .exception 
should be answered fully. The question to which direct 
exceptions were taken, was this : 

6 Explain why noble families sympathize with the Ni- 

This, I was told, involved the entire administration of 
Alexander II. and to explain it fully would expose cer- 
tain matters which the Government held as strictly pri- 

I was very much interested in Minister Pleve, because 
of the important part he acted in the most thrilling 



drama of Russian history, and I spent nearly an hour in 
a most agreeable conversation with him, though we had 
to talk through my interpreter. At the time of the 
Czar's assassination he was in very high repute as a skil- 
ful detective, and upon the removal of Gen. Trcpoff 
after recovering from the wound inflicted by Vera Zas- 
sulitch Mons. Pleve was appointed Minister of Police. 
The assassination of the Czar brought his detective skill 


into service again, and it was through his ingenuity that 
six of the accomplices were apprehended and brought to 
trial. His last act of great public consequence was to 
affix his signature to the death sentence of the assassins, 
which many believed no officer had the courage to 
do, because of the threats made in hundreds of anony- 
mous communications to kill every officer remotely con- 


cerned in the executions. But Pleve did not hesitate, and 
while his life is yet liable to pay the forfeit of that act, 
he takes few if any precautions to guard against assas- 

I asked him for his photograph for use in my book, 
and he promised to have one taken and send it to me at 
an early day, a promise which he kept, as is seen in the 
following letter : 

ST. PETERSBOURG, Octobre 9, 1882. 

Confarmement a votre desir, je vous envoie ci-joint ma photo- 
graphie en vous priant de recevoir 1'assurance de mes sentiment? 
distingues. V. PELVE. 

P. S. Les notes promises vous seront envoyees sans peu. 


ST. PETERSBURG, October 9, 1882. 

In accordance with your desire, I send you herewith my photo- 
graph, wishing you to receive the assurance of my high regard. 

P. S. The notes promised you will be sent in a little while. 



PROVIDED with what I considered a complete protection 
from officious servants of the Government, I set about 
gathering statistics and familiarizing myself with the 
social and political life of Russia since the accession to 
power of the Romanoffs. I was somewhat surprised to 
learn that many interesting portions of Russian history 
have never been given to the world, because of their 
reflections on the ruling family, and I now take what I 
conceive to be commendable pride in. presenting several 
material incidents for the first time in print. It is essen- 
tial to the thorough understanding of the causes which 
have combined to render Russia so unhappy, by giving 
life to a movement that is without precedent or simili- 
tude, that at least a brief or outline history of the coun- 
try should be familiar to the reader, and it is this which 
shall be my excuse for presenting it here ; added to this 
general history are several facts which, so far as my 
information extends, were never before published. 

The Russian Empire embraces an area of 8,444,766 
square miles, or considerable more than twice the area of 
all our States and Territories. This vast region, which 
extends from the arctic to the torrid zone, has an esti- 
mated population of 85,000,000, and though the most 
fertile and extensive agricultural country in the world, 
there are proportionately fewer persons following pastoral 
pursuits in Russia than in any other civilized nation. 

The Empire is divided into about one hundred govern- 
ments, which are ruled directly by Governors whose pow- 
ers, especially in Eastern Siberia, are almost absolute. 
Of these governments fifty are in Europe, having a pop- 
ulation of 66,000,000 ; Poland contains 6,000,000 souls - 



Finland, 2,000,000; the Caucasus, 5,000,000. Siberia 
proper has a population of 4,000,000, and Central Asia 
3,000,000. These are approximate figures based on the 
census of 1880. In this broad extent of country about 
two-thirds of the entire population profess the Greek 
religion. The Dissenters number about one million ; 
the Roman Catholics two and one-half millions ; Protes- 
tants and Mohammedans about the same as the Cath- 
olics ; Jews, two millions. There are also one quarter 
of a million Pagans, worshipping idols ; fifty thousand 
Armenians, and about ten thousand Scopsi, a denomina- 
tion that will be described fully hereafter. 

Russia's national debt, since the loan of 1882, is about 
four billion roubles the paper rouble being equivalent 
to fifty cents, makes the total debt, in United States 
currency, two billion dollars. The expenses of the Gov- 
ernment in 1881 were nine hundred million roubles, two 
hundred millions of which were army appropriations. 

The Emperor is allowed twenty million roubles annu- 
ally for the support of the forty-four members of the 
royal family. Russia now has a mobilized army, ready at 
any time to be called out for service, of over two million 
men ; and her fleet, consisting of two hundred and sixty- 
three vessels, carries sixteen hundred and two guns. 

The original settlers of Russia were Sclavonians, whose 
history in the Empire dates from about B. C. 400. A 
century later they founded the cities of Novgorod the 
Great, and Kief both of which cities afterward became 
capitals of the country and Ilrnen. Kief has always been 
regarded as the Holy City, to which annual pilgrimages 
are made for worship. 

This ancient capital, though much of its former glory 
has departed, is still one of the chief places in Russia ; 
among its many squalid appearing buildings, always sug- 




gestive of great poverty, is a palace provided, and still 
maintained, for the Imperial family. In Russia there are 
twenty-one palaces kept for the exclusive use of the Czar, 
many of which never once sheltered his Majesty ; they are 
always kept in readiness for him, however, being attended 
by hundreds of servants, and having stables containing 
many fine horses. I was surprised to learn this, and 
upon asking why such a useless extravagance was per- 
mitted, was answered : " The Czar is supposed to look 
after the interests of his entire Empire ; his presence, 
therefore, may be expected at any time in any place 
therein ; so. palaces are provided for his entertainment in 
various parts of Russia in order that at no time may he 
have to lodge in apartments not befitting his Majesty." 
This answer quite satisfied me. 

The earliest Government of Russia was a Republic, 
which continued for about one thousand years, when, in 
851, a violent political disturbance took place which 
divided the Republic into revolutionary territories and 
inaugurated a warfare that threatened extermination. 
The Republic continued to exist in name, however, until 
8(>2, when a council, chosen from the various factions, 
with the view of conciliating differences and protecting 
the country from invasions, which neighboring tribes 
threatened, convened at Novgorod, and after lengthy 
deliberations decided to invite a Varago-Russian, named 
Rurik, to accept the sovereignty, which he did, and Rus- 
sia then became an Empire, Novgorod remaining the 
capital of the new Government. 

There is very little history known connected with the 
Rurik dynasty. Vladimir was the greatest sovereign of 
that House. It was he who introduced Christianity into 
the Empire in 980, and at his death, which occurred in 
1015, he was buried at Kief, and the church honored 




his name by declaring him a saint. Dimetrius was also 
a prominent ruler in the Rurik dynasty, and he is re- 
garded as a saint by the orthodox church. It was Dime- 
triits who founded Moscow in the twelfth century. A 
portion of his skull, the size of a silver half-dollar, is 
still preserved and exposed to view in the Royal Chapel at 
Moscow. Every day hundreds of pious Russians visit 
this chapel and reverently kiss the ghastly relic, murmur- 
ing their prayers, and crossing themselves at the same 
time. It is said that upon the occasion of a visit to this 
chapel by an American lady, seeing so strange and dis- 
gusting a performance by so many mouths, she grew 
sick and vomited. The act, as I saw it performed by 
dozens during my visit to Moscow, affected me almost 
as seriously as it did the lady referred to. 

The house of Rurik continued to rule Russia until the 
year 101.-), when an interregnum occurred, owing to the 
fa<-t that there was neither issue nor hereditary branch 
to succeed the last ruler. The Empire continued, how- 
ever, by the election of Michael Faodorvitch Romanoff 
as Emperor, who ruled from the year 1613 until 1645. 
He was succeeded by his son, Alexis Michaelovitch, who 
wa* the father of Peter the Great. His reign continued 
from 16-15 until 1676. The other rulers then came in the 
order named. 

Feodor Alexovitch, 1676-1682. Ivan Alexovitch the 
V., who was an idiot, being senior brother of Peter 
Alexovitch (Peter the Great), the Government became 
a duarchy until the former's death, which occurred in 
1606, when Peter the Great, who was in fact ruler from 
1682, continued on the throne until his death in 1725. 

Catharine I., wife of Peter the Great, ruled from 1725 
until 1727, when she was poisoned by Count Ostermann 

Peter II., nephew of Peter the Great, 1727 until 1730. 


Anna Ivanovana, niece of Peter the Great, ruled from 
1730 until 1740, when she was banished to Siberia and 
died in exile. 

Ivan Antonovitch succeeded, but ruled only one year, 
until 1741, when he was thrown into prison, where he 

Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Peter the Great, ruled 
from 1741 until 1761. She died without marrying, but 
adopted the grandson of Peter I., who succeeded her as 
Peter III., but he ruled only one year, until 1762, when 
he was strangled by order of his wife, Catharine II. 

Catharine II. ruled from 1762 until 1796. 

Paul I., Catharine's only son, who was declared illegiti- 
mate, ruled from 1796 until 1801, when he was strangled 
in his palace by Count Parlen. 

Alexander I., son of Paul I., ruled from 1801 until 1825. 
He died from the effects of poisoned feet, the poison 
being secretly placed in his boots. 

Nicholas I., second son of Paul I., ruled from 1825 
until 1855, when he ordered his physician to prepare 
him a dose of poison, which he took on account of his 
defeat by England and the Allied Forces in the Crimean 

Alexander II. ruled from 1855 until 1881, when he was 
assassinated, after many unsuccessful attempts, March 
1st, Russian style, 1881. 

Alexander III. began his rule upon the day of his 
father's (Alexander II.) death, and is now upon the 
throne, which is like an active volcano under his feet, or 
a magazine of powder toward which a lighted fuse is 
steadily burning. 

The members of the ruling family are as follows : 

Emperor Alexander III. Alexandra vitch, born March 
10th, 1845 ; he married Maria Sophia Frederica Dagmar, 



daughter of Christian IX. King of Denmark. The Em- 
press, who is a sister to the Princess of Wales and King 

George, of Greece, was 
born November 26th, 
1847, and married the 
Emperor, November 9th, 
1866. She was engaged 
to the Prince Imperial 
Nicholas, elder brother of 
t h o present E m p e r o r, 
who, however, was seized 
with a dreadful malady 
brought on by his own 
indiscretions, and died 
before reaching man- 
hood. On his death- 
bed he begged his broth- 
er, who became heir in 
succession, to marry the 
Princess , which request 
was complied with. 

The children of this 
union are : 

Nicholas Al exandro- 
vitch, the Prince Impe- 
rial, who was born May 
18th, 1868. 

George Alexandro- 
vitch, Grand Duke ; born 
May 9th, 1871. 

Xenia Alexandrovna, 

Grand Duchess; born 

April 6th, 1875. 

Michael Alexandroviteh, Grand Duke, born December 
5th, 1878. 


Olga Alexaiidrovna, born in May, 1882. 
The christening ceremonies of this infant princess oc- 
curred at Peterhoff, the Czar's present residence, and 
was one of the most gorgeous affairs that ever took 
place in Russia. 

Brothers and Sisters of the Emperor Vladimir Alex- 
androvitch, Grand Duke ; horn April 22, 1847 ; married 
August 28th, 1874, to Princess Marie, of Mecklenburg- 

Alexis Alexandrovitch, Grand Duke ; born January 
14th, 1850. Morganatically married, but his wife was 
never acknowledged by the Court, and he was compelled 
to sever his relations with her. 

Marie Alexaiidrovna, grand duchess ; born October 17, 
1853 ; married to the Duke of Edinburg, second son of 
Queen Victoria, January 23, 1874. 

Sergius Alexandrovitch, Grand Duke ; born May llth, 

Paul Alexandrovitch, Grand Duke ; born October 3d, 

Uncles and Aunts Olga Nicolaievna, grand duchess ; 
born September llth, 1822 ; married to Charles, now 
King of Wurtemburg, July 13th, 1846. 

Constantine Nicholaievitch, Grand Duke ; born Sep- 
tember 21st, 1827 ; married September llth, 1848, to the 
Princess Alexandra Josef ovna, the daughter of Joseph, 
late duke of Saxe Altenburg. 

There are sixteen other members of the Royal Family, 
children of the grand dukes and grand duchesses, all of 
whom receive a large annual pension from the Govern- 

Few of the grand dukes have held any office requiring 
active service. The grand duke Nicholas w r as field Mar- 
shal at the outbreak of the war with Turkey, but his 


father, Alexander II., had so little confidence in him that 
he decided to assign the chief command of the Russian 

forces to one of his old- 
er-Generals. Learning 
this, Nicholas presented 
himself before his father, 
and with pistol in hand 
declared that rather than 
suffer such disgrace he 
would blow his own brains 
out before his father's 
eyes. This threat induced 
the Emperor to give the 
chief command to Nicho- 
las, but before a year had 
elapsed there was such a 
general complaint of his 
extravagance and incom- 
petency that the Czar was 
forced to remove him and 
appoint Gen. Skobeleff-, 
the hero of Goek-Teppe, 
in his place. 

The grand duke Con- 
stantino was, for some 
time, rear Admiral of the 
Eussian fleet, but there 
developed among the ma- 
rines such strong revolu- 
tionary sympathies that 
in the spring of the pres- 
ent year he was removed, 
and the position given to the Grand Duke Alexis. The lat- 
ter at once began a secret examination of the men in the 


navy, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of three 
hundred officers and privates in the marine service, all of 
whom were sent into exile. 


THERE are three great historical characters among the 
rulers of Russia, viz: Peter the Great, Catharine II., 
and Alexander II. Of these three the first named is pre- 
eminent in history, while they all have made popular rep- 
utations in the order named. 

Even in boyhood, Peter the Great exhibited such traits 
of character as indicated his special capacity for the po- 
sition he was hereditarily called to fill. His brother, 
upon whom the crown fell by succession, was an idiot, 
and at a very youthful age the responsibilities of Imperial 
State, under particularly perplexing circumstances, be- 
came his inheritance. 

His early life was characterized by those acts of brav- 
ery which grew in importance as maturer years came 
upon him. It is told of him that shortly after his acces- 
sion to the throne a conspiracy was formed to consum- 
mate his assassination. Those in the plot had a meeting 
place in a peasant's house, where they secretly came to- 
gether and arranged their plans for getting into his bed- 
room, and for disposing of the body after death. By 
some means, which tradition does not explain, Peter 
heard of the conspiracy, and with a spirit of reckless 
bravery undertook the task of visiting punishment upon 
his enemies. He accordingly posted himself in a place 
near the house where, unobserved, he might witness the 
assembling of the assassins, When five of the party 




had collected, and while they were taking an oath to 
accomplish his murder, Peter broke in the door, and 
with no other weapon than his powerful arm, he rushed 
upon the affrighted men and knocked them into a condi- 
tion of insensibility, then taking away their daggers he 
kept them as a memento of his adventure. 

This great ruler was only seventeen years of age when 
he ascended the throne, but he was both warrior and 
statesman ; a sovereign full of ambition and the courage 
to force any extremity. His first desire was to extend 
his Empire, and this he undertook by engaging Charles 
XII., of Sweden, in a war which lasted, through shifting 
fortunes, for many years. At the beginning of this war 
Russia did not extend further north than the Neva River, 
the territory lying beyond belonging to Sweden. As a pre- 
liminary to the acquisition of Finland, Peter the Great 
wrote a letter to Charles XII., asking the favor of build- 
ing a small country residence on the north bank of the 
Neva. He had already founded St. Petersburg, and his 
request for permission to build a small house, even on 
Swedish territory, but adjoining his own dominions, was 
construed by Charles as nothing more than a natural de- 
sire, as the spot selected was embowered by beautiful 
trees and occupied a delightful site, commanding an ex- 
tensive view up and down the river. The request was 
therefore granted, and the wily Peter thus obtained his 
first footing 011 Swedish soil, which he never relinquished. 
It was a small house, in which Peter held counsel w r ith 
his officers, and one portion was fitted up for a workshop, 
for, although Czar, he was a skilful mechanic, whose chief 
delight was the turning-lathe and handling of all kinds 
of workmen's tools. 

Before engaging in war, Peter equipped himself fully 
by building a large fleet, providing abundant munitions, 


enlarging and drilling his army, and preparing all his 
forts and other defenses. 

When he had thus carefully arranged for a powerful 
campaign, war was declared, upon some trivial diplo- 
matic pretext, and there followed a twelve years' contest 
that has rarely been equalled for fierceness in all history. 

But the fortunes of war were all against him until his 
exchequer was nearly exhausted, his troops were beaten 
and driven at every point, the army became insubordi- 
nate, and there appeared no hope ; yet Peter was one of 
those rare characters that knew no such word as fail ; ev- 
ery blow he received only served to impassion him to 
more determined acts. While in this extremity three 
hundred of his officers conspired to sacrifice him, and had 
arranged all their plans. At the last moment he heard 
of the conspiracy, and forthwith covertly despatched a 
force of trusted men to arrest them, not in a body, but one 
at a time so that no alarm might be occasioned, for he real- 
ized how little sympathy there was among the people for 
his administration. When all the arrests were made, and 
the men conveyed to Moscow, he attended upon them in 
person and announced their fate, which was to be decap- 
itation. Peter was an interested spectator of the execu- 
tions, his calculating deference being manifested by the 
following incident: Among the number sentenced to 
death was a young, gallant officer who had been a great 
favorite of the Czar's. This man, as he laid his head 
upon the block, in order to avert his gaze from the exe- 
cutioner's sword, by a great exertion contrived to turn 
his face sideways, which lifted one of his shoulders upon 
the block. On seeing this Peter rushed up and catching 

C? JL O 

hold of the hair of his victim, violently drew back the 
head into proper place, at the same time administering 
this rebuke : 


"A brave and considerate fellow indeed, who would 
disgrace the headsman by causing him to cut your shoulder 
rather than your neck." 



It was less than a year after the executions at Moscow 
that another conspiracy was discovered, headed by Pe- 


ter's favorite mistress, a woman who is represented as 
exceedingly beautiful and possessing such charms of per- 
son as won from the Czar an affection that subordinated 
his judgment and rendered him almost plastic in her 
hands. She had arranged to deliver him into the power 
of his enemies, but her purpose was disclosed to Peter in 
time for him to foil the conspirators and bring them to a 
judgment similar to that previously administered in Mos- 
cow. The woman was among those adjudged guilty of 
treason, and she was brought to the block arrayed in a 
long white robe covered with beautiful lace ; around her 
neck she wore a circlet of diamonds, a gift from the 
Czar, and her uncommonly long, black hair was allowed 
to hang disheveled over her shoulders. She is reported 
to have presented an appearance which would have turned 
any heart but that of the inflexible Peter, and even upon 
him she produced such an impression that he broke into 
tears, and throwing himself upon her neck in an agony 
of grief exclaimed : 

" Oh, beautiful being, I would gladly exchange places 
with you this sad hour, but pardon you I cannot. It is 
the Czar's duty to see no one convicted without just 
cause, so is it the Czar's duty to see the law rigidly en- 

Then after kissing her many times, he ordered her 
head laid upon the block, and a moment after signaled 
the headsman to do his bloody work. 

It is true that during the forty-three years of his 
administration Peter the Great never pardoned a single 
convicted offender, and it was his pride to declare the 

Though desperately beaten on nearly every battle-field 
for nine years, and until a further continuance of the 
struggle appeared hopeless, still the Great Peter sue- 


ceeded in inspiring his army with his own dauntless spirit. 
At length fortune changed in his favor, and soon hope 
blazed up all over the once despairing Empire. The 
battle of Pultova, which was fought under Imperial! ead- 
ership by the flower of both armies, resulted in Peter's 
favor, and was so complete an overthrow of Swedish 
influence and power that it was the last blow struck on 
either side. Charles XII. was himself desperately 
wounded, his army almost annihilated, and he was ready 
to sue for peace at any price. A treaty followed soon 
after, which ceded to Russia nearly all that territory now 
known as Finland, but the Government of Finland has 
ever remained isolated from Russia, for the reason that 
it has a limited constitution and is a Dukedom. 

At the conclusion of peace Peter renewed the building 
of St. Petersburg, intending that it should be the capital 
of the Empire. He soon removed from his little palace 
which was called " palace ' ' because it was the Royal resi- 
dence to a spot eighteen miles west of the city, where 
he built another palace, and called the place Peterhoff . 
There were two houses constructed for his residence, 
both of which are very small, one of them being beauti- 
fullv situated on a bank of the Finland Gulf, and the 
other in a delightful wood, before which was made a large 
fish pond. He bestowed such attention on the grounds 
at Peterhoff that they are regarded as the most pictur- 
esque in all Europe. 

He concentrated so much of his ambition on St. Peters- 
burg, however, that notwithstanding the fact of its estab- 
lishment on an extensive morass, he expended the means 
which have, made it next to Paris in architectural beauty, 
with broad streets and numerous parks, graceful monu- 
ments, and the finest Imperial palace in the world. He 
fostered the arts and sciences, gave encouragement to 


every commendable enterprise, and made Russia a power 
equal to any in Europe. 

Generous in sustaining every scheme which he con- 
sidered would advance the national interest, and genial 
in his intercourse with those he met in diplomatic or 
court relations, yet his stern determination and inflexi- 
ble heart made him often appear like a man destitute of 
human feeling and wholly without mercy. He had but 
one son, who possessed many of the traits characteristic 
of the sire ; this youth had an abnormally long head and 
a strange visage which foreboded dark purposes. When 
only fifteen years of age he became a disturbing factor 
in the Empire by attempting to incite a rebellion against 
his father ; so persistent was the youth in fomenting dis- 
cord that his father ordered him thrown into prison, but 
he was not so strictly confined as to prevent intercourse 
with many officials whom he tried to influence against 
the Czar. So incensed at length did Peter become that, 
alone, he repaired to the prison, and with his own hand 
struck a dagger into the heart of his recreant son. 

The second greatest character in Russian history, as 
before mentioned, was Catharine II., who was a German 
princess brought to Russia under the following circum- 
stances : 

Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Peter the Great, was 
without issue, though upon the throne from 1741 until 
1762. In order to retain the throne in the family, she 
adopted a grandson of Peter I., whom she raised at 
Court under Imperial tutelage. When the young Peter 
approached his adolescence Elizabeth grew anxious for 
him to fix his intentions upon some princess who might, 
as Empress, reflect credit upon himself and the nation, 
but Peter was so diffident that he had to be coerced into a 

courtship. To this end the Empress sent for four Ger- 


man princesses all about the age of the youthful Peter, 
to visit her d uring the approaching winter. The girls were 
brought to Russia in a post-chaise, and upon their arrival 
they were met by the Empress, who observed a remarka- 
ble difference between Catharine, one of the quartette, 
and the other three princesses. This difference consisted 
in a bold, frank, careless air manifested by Catharine 
as she entered the Royal presence, whilst her three com- 
panions exhibited such modesty and awkward diffidence 
that Elizabeth declared, within half an hour after receiv- 
ing them, that Catharine should become wife to her 
adopted Peter. 

The two were brought together and their respective suits 
vicariously pleaded with such persistency that although 
Catharine could scarcely endure the Prince Imperial, yet 
she was induced to marry him. This union was a most 
unfortunate one, as will appear hereafter. 

Upon the death of Elizabeth, Peter I. became Czar 
under the title of Peter III. He was a weak ruler and 
directly opposite in desposition to Catharine, whose am- 
bition was as all-absorbing as that displayed by Peter 
the Great. After one year of contention Catharine took 
up her residence at Peterhoff, while Peter III. remained 
at the Winter Palace with his mistress, the Countess Stro- 
ganhoff. This woman gained such an influence over him 
that he decided to marry her. To accomplish his pur- 
pose he had first to get rid of Catharine, which he at- 
tempted to do by preparing charges against her of trea- 
son and inconstancy. Following these he issued an 
order for her arrest, which was to take place the morn- 
ing following. 

It was Catharine's good fortune to have a friend at 
Peter's Court who, learning of the secret arrangement to 
bring her to trial, which would have resulted in her ban- 


ishment, drove quickly to Peterhoff and acquainted her 
fully of the conspiracy. Catharine was not a woman to 
quail or grow sick at heart over this discouraging news ; 
but with a quick perception and the determination to 
dare and do, she called her waiting maid, whom she im- 
plicitly trusted, and ordering her sleigh to be quickly 
brought, she drove with all possible dispatch to St. Pe- 
tersburg and drew up her foaming horses before the bar- 
racks of the Imperial Horse Guards. It was one o'clock 
in the morning when she awakened the chief officer, and 
with speech that characterized her as a puissant queen, 
she told him of the conspiracy and demanded his assist- 
ance. The .officer was thus placed in a truly dangerous 
position, for his acts must now be treason either to the 
Emperor or Empress, for obedience to one would be 
treason to the other. In the moments of his indecision 
and while Catharine was haranguing the officers and men 
with words of burning eloquence, a young lieutenant 
named Potemkin drew his sword from its scabbard and 
holding it aloft declared his allegiance to the Empress 
and offered his services and life in her behalf. This 
spirit became at once contagious, and in an hour's time 
the Horse Guards, to a man, swore fidelity to her and 
promised to execute all her orders. 

Catharine seized the advantage which was now clearly 
hers, and while Peter was reposing in the arms of his 
mistress, unconscious of betrayal, the strategic Queen 
burst in upon the Winter Palace with her faithful force, 
intending to summarily arrest and execute her faithless 
husband. But the Emperor was aroused in time to effect 
his escape down a private stairway and, half clothed, his 
identity was so concealed that he fled undetected to Cron- 
stadt-. Here he was comparatively safe, as there was no 
force in all Russia that could have successfully assaulted 
this the strongest fortress in the Empire. 


Catharine assumed control as Empress without incur- 
ring any opposition, and conducted the Government for 
a period of three months without holding any communi- 
cation with the dethroned Emperor. She was not satis- 
fied, however, with the apparent acquiescence in her rule, 
for there was a feeling of insecurity, occasioned by a 
dread of some conspiracy which might arise against her 
and restore the Emperor, so she concocted a diabolical 
plan for his assassination, the details of which show her 
to have been a cunning, but heartless woman. 

Having thoroughly conceived her purposes, Catharine 
wrote a lengthy letter, filled with the most affectionate 
declarations, to the despondent Emperor, in which she 
reminded him of their early courtship, the love that he 
bore for her before the poisonous influences of imperial- 
ism and sovereignty had alienated him ; she avowed her 
inexpressible love for him still, which, she claimed, was 
only realized when cruel circumstances had so strangely 
separated him from her ; she also absolved him from cen- 
sure for the part he had taken, throwing all the guilt 
upon those who had, through jealousy, influenced him to 
do that which she declared was foreign to his naturally 
pious and loving nature. She also pointed out the evil 
suffered by the nation by reason of a disgraceful act 
which had brought nothing but sorrow to them both. 
These specious pretenses were concluded by a cordial in- 
vitation which she extended him, announcing that, being 
so anxious for a reconciliation she would grieve her- 
self to death if it were denied, she had arranged to give 
him a royal dinner at Peterhoff , at which would be pres- 
ent a special company of his friends to welcome him 
back again to his loving wife and tjie throne of Russia. 

This letter, so skilful in its construction, completely 
captivated Peter, for being of a despondent nature he 


only needed the effervescent spirit of such a communi- 
cation to dissipate the gloom which had gathered so 
densely about him. His friends, however, thought they 
detected the signs of a conspiracy in the missive, be- 
cause not a single sentence accorded with the nature of 
Catharine, whom they knew to be ambitious, despotic 
and unscrupulous, They therefore strongly advised him 
not to accept the invitation, but he could discover noth- 
ing in the communication beyond that which promised 
him a restoration to power. 

He accordingly ordered his yacht and sailed across to 
Peterhoff, his heart exulting with proud expectations and 
without the slightest suspicion of the dreadful death that 
he was hastening to. Upon reaching Peterhoff he was 
astonished to find no preparations for his reception, but 
even this did not excite in him the least apprehension. 
Arriving at the Palace he was told that the Empress had 
arranged to meet him at the Ropscha Palace. 

Still unsuspicious, he entered a carriage which was 
placed at his disposal, and drove to Ropcha, which is 
about twenty miles from Peterhoff, where he first be- 
came alarmed by failing to observe anything that indi- 
cated an expected visit from him. But he was now too 
far advanced into Catharine's territory to turn back, for 
flight could not have saved him. Entering the Palace he 
was met by an officer, who, with profound obeisance ad- 
dressed him as "Your Majesty," and conducted him 
into the reception room where a score more of officers 
greeted him in a manner becoming his rank. Being seated 
he enquired for Catharine, and was told that Her Majesty 
was in the toilette room with her maids, but would appear 
presently . 

In a short time dinner was announced, and he was in- 
vited to accompany the officers to the dining hall, where 
they assured him Catharine would appear at once. 



Everything was of such strained and uncertain charac- 
ter that Peter's alarm momentarily increased until when 
he sat down at the table his face blanched with fright. 
Calling again for Catharine and receiving an unsatisfacto- 
ry answer, Peter arose from the table and exclaimed : 


" I perceive, gentlemen, that I have been grossly de- 
ceived, and that instead of inviting me to a reconcilia- 
tion with the Empress, this is a scheme to assassinate 


As these words were uttered Count Oraloff approached 
him suddenly from behind, and throwing a napkin around 
his neck exclaimed : 

"Yes, and it shall be as painless as we can make it." 


The Emperor had time then only to cry, "Shame! 
shame ! ' ' when the napkin was drawn so tightly that he 
soon died of strangulation 

Catharine had but one child, a son, who was declared 
illegitimate, and when he ascended the throne as Paul I. a 
revolution was averted only by the most obsequious 
promises to pacify the people. He ruled for five years, but 
with such dissatisfaction that a conspiracy was organized 
against him in his own palace ; the conspirators forced 
themselves into his private study, and presenting a letter 
of abdication demanded that he should sign it. This he 
refused, whereupon Count Parlen, at'sisted by six others, 
drew a napkin about his neck and strangled him to death 
in the same way in which his father was executed 

The reign of Catharine II. was marked by the great 
progress Russia made, notwithstanding the wars she pre- 
cipited which drew so heavily upon her treasury. She 
did more for St. Petersburg even than Peter the Great, 
some of her principal works being the construction of 
three canals which run through the city and connect the 
Volga with the Neva river, by which boats may run 
through from the Caspian to the Baltic sea. Her politic 
measures were no less important, for she confirmed the 
abolition of the secret state inquisition ; she also educated 
seven thousand children, and among many other acts of 
public charity she established a foundling asylum at St. 
Petersburg, and also one at Moscow. These institutions 
arc the largest of the kind in the world. The one at 
Moscow receives an average of one hundred foundlings 
every day, while the one in St. Petersburg receives half 
that number. 

Her entire reign was distinguished for the successful 
wars she waged against Turkey, at one time pushing her 
arms so far that Constantinople would have been com- 


pelled to capitulate, but for the intervention of other 
powers. Her efforts to annex Poland precipitated a 
great civil war which resulted, through the intrigues of 
Russia, Austria and Prussia, in an assault on Warsaw and 
the most dreadful massacre that the pen of history has 
perhaps ever recorded. 

In 1784 Catharine gained complete possession of the 
Crimea and the adjacent islands ; she then established 
the great fort of Sevastopol, which became such a prom- 
inent point of attack in the Crimean war of 1853-54-55. 

Her private life was marked by the most demoralizing 
excesses, which she took no pains to conceal. She be- 
stowed every honor within her gift upon Potemkin, 
the lieutenant of the Horse Guards who espoused her 
cause against Peter III., and her favors were not limited 
to offices of preferment. She had seven favorites who 
were her daily companions and counselors, and these are 
remembered in St. Petersburg by a large bronze statue of 
Catharine, around the pedestal of which are grouped 
smaller statues of the favored Septemviri. 

Her ambition was abnormal, being irrepressible even 
in the last moments of her life. When conscious that 
death was at hand, with great effort she rose up so fur as 
her strength would allow, but fell back with these last 
words : 

" Bring me the crown, that I may feel it on my head 
once more before I die. The crown! the crown!" 
and whispering these words she expired. 



THE third and last distinguished historical character of 
Russia is Alexander II., whose tragic death, March 13, 
1881, startled the world. While I have selected as strik- 
ingly great, in the Romanoff dynasty, only three rulers, 
I would have it understood that my estimation of these 
sovereigns is based entirely upon the civil policy which 
they pursued, and their influence in promoting the com- 
merce and arts of Russia. There were greater warriors 
on the throne of Russia than Peter the Great, among 
whom I may mention Tamerlane, Ivan IV., surnamed 
the Terrible, and Vladimir the Great, but I have not at- 
tempted to outline a general history of Russia, as that 
task has been accomplished already by several writers 
whose works have become standard in the various civil- 
ized countries. My purpose in introducing Peter the 
Great, Catharine II. and Alexander II. as pre-eminently 
prominent sovereigns was to utilize their administrations 
as a specially appropriate prelude to the subject of Rus- 
sia's internal revolution. Their several policies and ten- 
dencies serve to illustrate the mercurial and violent na- 
ture of the Russian people, as well as the burdens 
they have had to endure, and with the foregoing epitome 
of the two greatest administrations in Russia an intelli- 
gent comprehension of that which is to follow may be 

When Alexander came to the throne there was every- 
thing to discourage him. His father had died under the 
most lamentable circumstances ; the Crimean war fail- 
ure had caused mutterings and a restlessness among the 
people which seemed to threaten disruption, if not revo- 
lution ; there was an empty treasury gaping at a debt of 





frightful proportions ; and as the war with the Allied 
Powers had not yet terminated, he reached the throne in 
time to be held responsible for the downfall of Sevasto- 

Nicholas I. was a despot whose iron hand had crushed 
out every semblance of liberty, and the people were 
naturally distrustful of the son of such a man, but the first 
acts of Alexander II. was to reduce the public burdens 
and inaugurate social reforms of great consequence to 
the people. At the conclusion of peace he reduced his 
army to the lowest possible limits compatible with the 
safety of the Empire ; he next established trial by jury, 
devised a code of laws for the restraint of the royal fam- 
ily, and so mitigated the censorship of the press that 
immediately literature was stimulated and with it fol- 
lowed a rapid progress in all the arts and sciences. But 
in making these reforms he met with a stubborn opposi- 
tion from the noblesse, so that they finally became as 
laws observed only in the breach. An author writing at 
the time on the profession and practices of the adminis- 
tration observes : 

"In the administration of justice we find on the one 
hand publicity and ample show of discussion during the 
proceedings, and in the jury-box ; on the other a practice 
which removes inconvenient persons from the cognizance 
of a tribunal, and sends them ' administratively ' to Si- 
beria. On the one side abolition of corporal chastise- 
ment as a criminal and disciplinary punishment ; on the 
other, incessant floggings in secret. On the one side a 
recognition of the principles of self-government in the 
provinces and towns ; on the other, the impossibility of 
turning this to any practical use through fear of Gov- 
ernors, Ministers, Councillors, or Chiefs of Gendarmes. 
On the one side a strict demarcation of power among 


the various authorities, and a distinct separation of judi- 
cial from administrative functions ; on the other, an un- 
bounded exercise of arbitrary power by higher police 
officials, who in their turn are ruled over by the * Third 
Section,' whose supreme command overrides everything 

Although the reforms sought to be established by 
Alexander were suggested by an honest intention to 
remedy many crying evils, instead of eradicating, or 
even ameliorating any of the vicious practices so long 
complained of, seem to have served no other purpose 
than that of creating an inveterate hostility to him person- 
ally, which culminated, after five unsuccessful attempts, 
in his assassination. 

We are now brought to a period in Russian history 
where Nihilism had its beginning, for, strange enough, 
this bloody creature of a disordered if not frenzied con- 
ception had its birth in the very cradle of emancipation. 

Communism was a disquieting, if not dangerous factor 
in Russia as early as 1825, when a band of conspirators 
attempted to substitute constitutional for despotic Gov- 
ernment through the 'assassination of Alexander I., but 
there was a great dissimilarity in the two organizations, 
found in the fact that Communism of that time had a 
defined policy and a formulated idea of the Government 
it proposed to establish, while Nihilism is exactly what 
the word implies, " nothing ;" a determination to wreak 
vengeance without considering either the means or 

o O 


Russian Communism in 1825 had its origin in a grow- 
ing discontent with existing institutions and a desire to 
see them replaced by laws more in accordance with mod- 
ern ideas. This disposition, which was first manifested 
among the nobles, grew out of that vast wave of thought 


to which the French Revolution gave rise, and, to some 
extent, to the unsettling forces set free during the great 
struggle with Napoleon I. 

The close of the life of Alexander I. was embittered 
by the reflection of how much he had done for his people 
and the ingratitude they had returned. From time to 
time he received mysterious messages containing warn- 
ings that his life and throne were in danger. His mind 
became so gloomy under these threatened calamities that 
he died of a broken heart at Togaurog. 

An interregnum ensued, during which, while Nicholas 
was refusing to exclude his elder brother from the throne 
and while Constantine was undetermined whether or not 
to swear allegiance to his younger brother, the Commun- 
ists gained strength and their plans coherency. The re- 
sult was a military insurrection in December, 1825, 
which terminated in a dreadful carnage. The attack was 
made on the Winter Palace by about five thousand men, 
who gathered in the Alexander Square in broken ranks, 
and with such weapons as they could collect. The mob 
was met by a battery of heavy artillery, planted in front 
of the Ministry of Justice, one hundred yards from the 
Palace, which, with grape-shot, opened fire on the crowd 
until nearly three thousand of the revolutionists were 
mangled in instant death or left dying in a sea of blood. 

This dreadful slaughter suppressed Communism until, 
upon the accession of Alexander II., Alexander Herzen 
organized a revolutionary committee and established a 
printing office in London , where Nihilistic literature was 
printed and used to inflame the passions of adventurers 
and those who were conscious of Russian oppression. 
This committee had its branches in Paris, Berlin and 
Geneva, but was making little progress when the Em- 
peror declared, by act of emancipation February 19, 

82 El \s$l AX MHILISM AND 

1861, the freedom of the Serfs. This was a blow at the 
Russain nobility which proved disastrous to their inter- 
ests and led to evils far beyond those anticipated by the 

The history of Serfdom may be briefly told, and as it 
is essential to a correct understanding of the emancipa- 
tion proclamation and its consequences, is herewith 
given : 

The original settlers of Russia being 1 from the east and 

~ o 

south, the nomadic disposition which characterized them 
continued to be a feature of the Government, until meas- 
ures were taken, at first of a mild, persuasive nature, to 
induce a permanent settlement of the people, in order 
that agriculture might be promoted. Incursions from 
neighboring tribes for purposes of forage and reprisal, 
followed by hordes who retaliated upon the invaders, be- 
came so general as to prevent any attempt to engage in 
productive industry, until in 1592 Boris Godunoff, of 
the Rurik dynasty, became convinced that there could 
be no progress or cohesion in his Empire unless the per- 
nicious custom was abolished. He accordingly promul- 
gated a peremptory decree, forbidding peasants from 
changing' their residence or appearing off their communal 
estates without a permit from the Governor of their re- 
spective districts. All efforts to enforce this decree 
proved futile, because no adequate punishment was pro- 
vided for its infraction. 

Determined in his purpose, however, Godunoff had 
enacted and put into execution another law which gave 
the right to any nobleman which was a wealthy class 
of landed estate owners, whose occupation was chiefly 
stock raising to hold in bondage all the peasants em- 
ployed by him, and also the further right of forcibly 
taking and owning as slaves any peasant whom he might 




find off the communal estate on which such peasant was 
recorded as a resident. This latter law gave the noble- 
men absolute ownership of the serfs thus forced into 
bondage, with the right to dispose of them the same as 
other chattels. The law remained unchanged until dur- 
ing the reign of Nicholas I., when that sovereign issued 
another decree taking away from the noblemen the right 
of selling their serfs except as they might be disposed of 
with the estates of their masters. 

So extensive did this system of slavery become that in 
the year 1858 it is computed there were 47,100,000 per- 
sons in servitude, more than one-half the entire popula- 
tion of European Russia. Of this number M. Rambaud 
estimates that 20,000,000 were Crown peasants, 4,700,- 
000 were peasants attached to estates, which were the 
Appenages of the Crown, laboring in mines and factories 
belonging to the Crown ; 21,000,000 belonged to private 
individuals and 1,400,000, were domestic servants. 

The serfs of the Crown and of the Appenages might 
be considered as free men, subject to the payment of a 
rent, and bound only to perform certain defined obliga- 
tions to the State, while they were permitted to enjoy a 
restricted local self-government. To emancipate these 
involved only an Imperial edict of manumission, which 
was done gradually by a series of ukases, the first of 
which bore date July, 1858. 

The emancipation of those serfs belonging to private 
owners, however, was a task not so easily performed, for, 
as Rambaud observes, " the liberation of these 22,400,000 
human beings was to constitute the most prodigious social 
revolution that has been accomplished since the French 
Revolution." Particularly was the task a difficult one, 
sin^e the scheme provided for the liberation of the 
serfs under such conditions as left them in possession of 



the estates they hud cultivated, but imposed obligations 
upon them which may be summed up in the following : 

1st. The peasants were to be invested with the privi- 
leges of free cultivators. 

2d. They were to have, under conditions expressed in 
the decree, the full enjoyment of their enclosure, and 
also of a portion of productive land sufficient to enable 
them by industry to discharge certain obligations to the 
State. This enjoyment might become absolute posses- 
sion of the enclosure by purchase. 

3d. The noblemen were to surrender to the peasants 
all the land actually occupied by them, a maximum and 
minimum being fixed for each commune the serfs lived 
in communes in a manner which will be explained here- 
after. The average allowance was nine acres of arable 
land to each male serf ; the allotment differed greatly, 
however, in different districts, according to the charac- 
ter of the soil ; in some rich localities as little as three 
acres were granted each serf, while in the most unpro- 
ductive portions as much as twenty-five acres was the 

4. The Government obligated itself to organize a sys- 
tem of laws through which the serfs were to be enabled 
to discharge their obligations to the State. 

5. The domestic servants were to be granted an uncon- 
ditional freedom after serving their masters forthe period 
of two years. 

6. The owners of the land and serfs were to receive 
compensation, for the property thus yielded, by a money 
payment, which was based upon the rents they had re- 
ceived and the value of their serf labor, which was to be 
calculated at a yearly rental of six per cent ; "so that, 
for every six roubles which the laborer had earned an- 
nually, he had to pay one hundred roubles to his 


master as his capital value to become a free holder." Of 
this sum, twenty per cent, was advanced by the Govern- 
ment to the noblemen (owners) which was to be refund- 
ed by the freed peasants in installments extending over 
fifty-nine years. To secure this repayment, the Govern- 
ment imposed a tax on the commune, making the house- 
holders of each Mir, or village, individually responsible 
for the entire sum, charging on each commune a portion 
of the redemption dues and other imperial taxes propor- 
tionate to the number of males in the census list, which 
is revised and republished annually.* 

This Imperial ukase of emancipation went into effect 
February 19, 1861, and immediately produced a violent 
feeling, which for a time threatened civil war. We, in 
America, who know the effect of President Lincoln's 
manumission proclamation, can readily understand the 
rebellious spirit which must have animated the Russian 
noblemen, for though there was a compensation fixed by 
the Government, by which the serf owners were to re- 
ceive a money consideration, yet the scheme of payment 
Avas of such a character as to be practically valueless to 
the noblemen. It was a virtual confiscation of both their 
lands and serfs. 

Under the system of serfdom there developed a no- 
blesse class of aristocracy, who practiced the most extrav- 
agant indulgences, maintaining fine country seats in 
France, Switzerland and Bavaria, dressing in a garb of 
richest splendor when in Russia, keeping scores of mis- 
tresses, and breathing nothing but the atmosphere of 

They not only derived an income from their pastoral 
estates, but encouraged their more ambitious slaves to 

* Russia, Past and Present, by H. M. Chester. 



engage in business in the cities. Thousands of serfs of 
quick intelligence were glad to pay their masters the sum 


of one thousand roubles annually for what they could 
earn in commercial undertakings. But there are hun- 


dreds of instances in which greedy masters compelled 
their serfs, who had prospered in business, to pay them 
ten times the amount they had thus agreed to accept. 
There was a law which made noblemen amenable to con- 
tracts thus entered into with their serfs, but it was ren- 
dered inoperative by the right of the owner, at the ex- 
piration of such time as he had agreed to grant freedom 
to his slave, to compel his serf to abandon business and 
return to the commune. 

Suddenly stripped of their wealth, and entirely unac- 
customed to any employment, the noblemen were left in 
a sorry condition by the Imperial ukase of 1861. Being 
from almost time immemorial used to princely revenues, 
and with a power which exalted their pride to the very 
limit of aggrandizement, the aristocratic lords were pre- 
cipitated, in a day, to the level of their minions, and we 
are not surprised to learn that they felt bitter toward 
the Government. This intense hatred soon developed 
into an active opposition, which culminated in Nihilism. 
The noblemen were educated, and their former position, 
an aroma of which still clings to them, gave them that 
influence among the ignorant classes which they have 
wielded so potentially ever since. Keeping behind the 
scenes themselves, they have used those whom flattering 
speech and promises of an Utopia could beguile, to 
commit revolutionary acts. The students, who are al- 
most continually committing some overt act against the 
Government, are the sons of those old noblemen who 
have transmitted their grievances and who look to the 
second generation for areclaimation of their rights. 

There is a vast difference between Communism and Ni- 
hilsm in Russia, the latter being far the more radical and 
aggressive, with less direction of purpose. During the 
early years of Alexander L, and following quipkly upon 



the overthrow of Napoleon, Russia, in common with all 
Europe, shouted herself hoarse in an enthusiasm for na- 
tionality. At this time the " Slavophils " were the na- 
tional reactionists, with many discordant elements which 
prevented homogeniety among them. 

During the reign of Nicholas the existence of even a 
shadowy form of liberalism was rendered impossible by 
the energetic action of thousands of secret police, 
though at Moscow there were individual liberalists, no 
two being in concert, however, so that of an organization 
there was not the least semblance. But toward the 
close of Nicholas' reign a group of students in the Uni- 
versity of Moscow began a discussion with the view of 
securing refuge from the absolutism which hedged them 
about in almost helpless conscription of thought and ac- 
tion. This idea was no doubt created by a study of He- 
gel's and Sch tiling's -philosophy, particularly the former, 
which excited such an interest among the students that 
there developed a mania for his works to the neglect of 
all other studies. 

There were two parties among these incipient philoso- 
phers, one of which was under the leadership of Alexander 
Herzen, who inclined to French Socialism, while the other 
branch recognized as their champions Aksakof, Kiriec- 
vskis and Samarin, who clung tenaciously to the Hege- 
lian school until they progressed into Romanticists. 
Their ideas finally crystalized around the belief that 
Western Europe was in a vortex of ruin, while Russia 
alone remained in that state of youth and vigor as gave 
promise, through the adoption of measures they advo- 
vocated, of reaching the highest plane in science, art and 
cultured civilization. 

To better accomplish their purpose, these fanatical 
students adopted the garb of the peasantry, wearing their 


shirts over their trowsers and going about in sleeveless 
jackets to the great astonishment of Moscow. This 
move was to obtain the favor of a major class as well 
also as to manifest their sincerity. 

Hegel's philosophy of history taught that a new race, 
to have dominion over the world, must be the messengers 
of new ideas and principles ; the discovery, therefore, of 
the system of Russian Communism by Baron Von Hox- 
thansen in 1842, was accepted by the Slavophils as a rev- 
elation of the idea and principle upon which was to be es- 
tablished the Pan-Sclavonic nation of the future. This 
firmly imbedded belief became, as it were, the very con- 
stitution of Communism, and was the basis upon which 
Herzen builded his Socialism. Associated with the dem- 
ocratic tendency of the Slavophils to regenerate the nation 
through the common people, was their fidelity to the 
Church, which it was positively believed had protected 
them from Protestant infidelity and Papal oppression. 

This school of enthusiasts, though small in numbers for 
several years, had no little influence, and by the mani- 
festation of almost unexampled persistency they at length 
began to grow in numbers with great rapidity, while 
with their growth they became more pronounced in a 
developing sympathy with extreme radicalism. 

In 1860 the celebrated novelist, Ivan Tourguenief , in 
a popular story, applied the term "Nihilists" to the 
Hegelian Slavophils, whom he accused of a desire to de- 
stroy everything. But the word "Nihilism" was used 
as a synonym for scepticism many years before by Roy- 
ercollard and Victor Hugo. Alexander Herzen has 
been credited with being the founder of Nihilism, but 
this is a mistake, the real part he acted being that of an 
Evangelist of Nihilistic doctrines in Russia. Associated 
with Herzen were Tshernikevski and Bakunin, the latter 


of whom succeeded Herzen in the editorship of the 
famous Kolokol. Under Herzen, this organ advocated re- 
forms and the introduction of Socialism with a modera- 
tion, however, in all its articles which made it respected 
by all parties, but under Bakunin it changed from a 
radical into a revolutionary journal and in a fiery, un- 
reasonable manner advocated the subversion of both 
Church and State, even at the expense of chaos. The 
violent manner in which Bakunin agitated his declared 
Nihilistic purpose may be better judged by the fol- 
lowing extracts from a manifesto, which he issued in 18G8 
on behalf of an organization calling itself the " Alliance 
Internationale de la Democratic Socialiste," of which he 
was the head : 

" Brethren, I come to announce unto you a new gospel, 
which must penetrate to the very ends of the world. 
* * The old world must be destroyed and replaced 
by a new one. * . * The Lie must be stamped out, 
and give way to Truth. * * * The first lie is God; 
the second lie is Right > and when you have 

freed your minds from the fear of a God, and from that 
childish respect for the fiction of Eight : , then all the re- 
maining chains that bind you, and which are called science, 
civilization, property, marriage, morality, and justice, 
will snap asunder like threads. * * * Let your own 
happiness be your only law. * * * Our first work 
must be destruction and annihilation of everything as it 
now exists ; you must accustom yourselves to destroy 
everything, the good with the bad ; for if but an atom of 
this old world remains, the new will never be created." 

It is unfortunate that some zealous pupil of the fanati- 
cal agitator did not accept this advice and begin the 
work of destruction, for the upbuilding of a new world, 
by putting a quietus on Bakunin, 


Another writer of seditious pamphlets in Russia makes 
use of this language : 

44 Down with instruction and science; we have had 
enough of it for a thousand years. The thirst for it is 
an aristocratic one which, like the desire for conjugal 
felicity, engenders a love of wealth. We must extirpate 
this taste, and develop in its place drunkenness, backbit- 
ing, and a corruption till now unknown. All geniuses 
must be stifled in their cradles. So we shall arrive at a 
perfect equality." 

It is difficult to find a reason why such insane declara- 
tions find favor among any people, much less among the 
Nihilist teachers, who belong to the more intelligent and 
educated class. Yet according to the declarations made 
by Solovieff, the Emperor's would-be assassin, in his 
confession, more than three-fourths of all the Nihilists 
with whom he was connected were formerly students of 
the universities. 

Signor Arnando, who has made a special study of Ni- 
hilism, and who writes so intelligently on the subject, says : 
"The association of so many Russian youths of culture 
with doctrines so utterly at variance with common sense 
and humanity, may be explained in three ways. First, 
the Russians understand science easily, and like the study 
of it, provided it is all prepared for them by others. 
This accounts for the fact that Russia has produced very 
little original talent. Secondly, the rising generation 
shows a great tendency toward idleness, and a great lik- 
ing for conversations and discussions. It has two defects : 
It is too easily excited and never thoroughly investigates 
a subject. The Russian youths are intelligent, and ap- 
propriate with extraordinary promptitude all that comes 
to them from abroad, but they take it as it comes and 
build their own theories upon it. Thirdly, as Professor 


Fleury has remarked, all the young men and women that 
frequent the universities show the same inaptitude for 
reasoning and abstract ideas ; their minds seize and retain 
particulars and details, but with difficulty surmount the 
conception of generality and collectiveness." 


TROUBLE grew apace in Russia after the liberation of 
the serfs, in which even the freedmen were inclined 
against their sovereign. They began to grumble because 
the Czar had not given them their freedom without im- 
posing a burden which it would require years of hard 
labor for them to remove. 

In 1863 Poland, that had dreamed of an untrammelled 
autonomy, at least since 1815, became the scene of a 
bloody insurrection, while all over Russia blazed up in- 
cendiary fires, and St. Petersburg was threatened with 
destruction. It was a gloomy period, but Alexander did 
not exhibit any other disposition than that of determina- 
tion. He argued that if a people will not be satisfied with 
the perfecting of reforms as rapidly as the condition of 
affairs would permit, the safest policy to pursue was coer- 
cion. Accordingly the insurrection in Poland was put 
down by a liberal, if not unmerciful, use of ball and 
steel. He now began to receive mysterious warnings 
that his life was in danger, but reckoning these as the 
idle fancies or ulterior designs of zealots, he gave no heed 
or care to such communications, until April 16, 1866, a 
young Pole named Karakozoff, who was employed by 
the revolutionary committee, made an attempt upon the 
Emperor's life. It was on Sunday afternoon, when the 


Czar was about to take his customary walk in the Sum- 
mer Garden. A large crowd had collected near the 
gates fronting the quay on the Neva to witness his Maj- 
esty's departure. At the moment he was crossing the 
pavement to enter his sledge, a man stepped hurriedly 
forward from the crowd and presenting a pistol, which 
he had drawn from beneath a large cloak, fired at the 
Emperor. Fortunately for his Majesty a peasant hap- 
pened to be standing very near the assassin and having 
observed something suspicious in the movements of the 
criminal, jumped forward in time to knock the pistoi up 
and thus save the Emperor's life, when immediately the 
man was arrested. The peasant who had saved the Czar's 
life was named Kamissaroff, and in gratitude for his es- 
cape the Emperor granted a liberal annuity to the fortu- 
nate peasant, besides creating him a noble. 

As an example of the number of superstitious stories 
that were universally accepted by the common people as 
true, and were gravely published in the Russian papers 
as authentic facts, the following may be quoted : 

At three o'clock on the day when the attempt was 
made, the people of Rappenberg, a smail town in the 
Government of Riazan, which was the native place of 
Kamissaroff, were startled by the detonating peals of 
the alarm bell. On rushing to the church to learn the 


cause, the people were greatly terrified to perceive that 
there was no one in the belfry ; that the rope still hung 
unmolested on a hook in the wall, and that the bell had 
rung of itself. Three days later the St. Petersburg pa- 
pers reached Rappenberg, containing an account of the 
attempt on the Emperor's life, when instantly the people 
were satisfied why the mysterious warning had been 

It was only natural that this first attempt on the life of 


the Czar, whose reign had been consistently manned by a 
long series of popular reforms, should produce through- 
out the Empire a feeling of intense indignation, but at 
the time it was hoped that Karakozoff's crime was noth- 
ing more than the rash work of a small and not very 
powerful revolutionary party in Poland. All such hopes, 
however, were soon dissipated, and from the facts brought 
out at the trial it became evident that the Nihilists were 
already a strong and dangerous organization, with a code 
of laws and disciplined forces, as will hereafter be ex- 

Karakozoff was brought to trial, found guilty and con- 
demned to be hanged, but the sentence of death was 
commuted by the Emperor to transportation to Siberia 
for life. 

The following year, 1867, another attempt to assassi- 
nate the Czar was made while his majesty was driving 
through the streets of Paris, with his two sons and the 
Emperor, Napoleon III. This second attack was also 
made by a Pole, named Berezovsky, who fired at the Em- 
peror, but happily with imperfect aim. No further overt 
act of the Nihilists was committed until in 1870, when a 
party of students were arrested for incendiary speeches 
and the publication of a paper filled with revolutionary 
articles intending to incite the people against the Czar. 
Among the sixteen that were arrested at this time was one 
named Sergius Netschaief , who disclosed the furious zeal 
with which Russian students of the advanced school em- 
brace the wildest doctrines of Socialism. In addition to 
this he also described the Nihilist organization, and as 
these statements have been frequently verified by other 
Nihilists who turned informers after their arrest, they 
may be accepted as true. 

The organization is divided into groups of members^ 


each group having either five, ten or fifteen members who 
are under the authority of a chief, who alone is in imme- 
diate communication with the commander of twenty 
groups. These commanders hold intercourse with the 
executive committee, but only through a delegate. The 
executive committee forms the center of the Nihilist party 
and serves to the maintenance of the most strict and se- 
cret discipline. The slightest act of treachery or disobe- 
dience to its orders is punished by death. Many bodies 
of murdered men have been discovered in the cities or 
highways of Russia, a small dagger piercing the corpse, to 
which a scroll was attached bearing the significant in- 
scription , ' ' Death for Treachery . ' ' 

Recruiting the ranks is done in this manner : There 
are recruiting officers whose duty it is to search out per- 
sons whom it is desirable to have in the organization, and 
this is done in the following way : A man of apparent 
intelligence but of evident poverty, of whom there are 
thousands in every part of Russia, is, for instance, seen 
haunting some park or public place for want of occupa- 
tion. The recruiting officer watches him from day to day 
until satisfied that the man is in sore need, when he cas- 
ually approaches him and engages at first in a general 
conversation. An acquaintance is thus formed, and famil- 
iarity soon draws from the man an admission of his 
poverty and a desire to engage in anything that promises 
even such compensation as would afford him a livelihood. 
The officer suddenly remembers that he has a friend who 
is desirous of engaging a confidential agent, and proffers 
an introduction and recommendation. The poor fellow 
is, of course, elated at the prospect of securing employ- 
ment and is punctual in keeping the appointment, which 
is arranged for. He is told by the third person that a 
vacancy exists, who offers the position with a salary of one 


or two hundred roubles per month to the happy expect- 
ant, who is immediately engaged. The poor man is re- 
quired to report from day to day at the headquarters of 
his employer, but has nothing in particular to do for per- 
haps two or three months. He is gradually prepared in 
the meantime for serious service .by prejudicing his mind 
against the Government and in favor of the Nihilists, who 
are represented as a band of patriots whose aims are all 
for the eradication of evils which have long oppressed the 
people. Thus, without acquainting him with the duties 
he is expected to perform, the person controlling his 
services at length fortifies him for the obligation which he 
is soon after compelled to take. When these prepara- 
tions are completed the man may be called on to assist in 
laying a dynamite mine, lighting an incendiary fire, or to 
commit murder. If he rebels at such orders he is told of 
his engagement and that his services belong to the execu- 
tive committee of Nihilists who will hold him to a serious 
accountability. In other words, there is the alternative 
of death or obedience, for he is now known to the com- 
mittee without in turn knowing the members, and it is 
'only in rare instances that he will incur the danger which 
he is soon convinced will surely follow disobedience. 

In this way hundreds of recruits are made in addition 
to the large number who volunteer their services. The 
expenses of this bloody organization are defrayed out of 
a general fund which is created by subscriptions raised by 
committees in foreign countries, particularly in Switzer- 
land, France and England, and also by contributions from 
noblemen, whose influence and purses are almost univer- 
sally placed at the disposal of the revolutionary party. 



THE war with Turkey, declared on April 12, 1877, as 
might be expected, gave fresh life and energy to the 
cause of Nihilism, which had for its object the securing 
of liberty at home. This war was ostensibly waged for 
the protection of Christians who were living under Mos- 
lum rule. When peace was concluded and a Representa- 
tive Chamber was opened in Bulgaria, Russia was the 
only European country that did not enjoy a constitu- 
tional Government more or less developed. The action 
of the Czar in declaring the freedom of Bulgaria and 
granting special privileges and autonomy to that country, 
while refusing like privileges to his own people, inflamed 
the Nihilists anew and greatly strengthened their organi- 

For a while the Nihilist leaders believed that the end 
they had in view could be attained by striking a mortal 
blow at officialism, and this is proved by the fact that 
not counting the attempt made at Paris by the Polish 
advocate Berezovsky an interval of no less than thirteen 
years elapsed between the attempt made on the Empe- 
ror's life by Karakozoff and that made by Solovieff in 
1879. In that interval General Trepoff, then Police 
Master of St. Petersburg, was severely wounded by Vera 
Zassulitch ; General Mezentrieff, Chief of the Secret Po- 
lice Department, was mortally wounded ; and General 
Drenteln, his successor, was shot at. Of all that have 
within the last thirty years occupied the high post of 
Police Master of St. Petersburg, General Trepoff, without 
doubt, was the most energetic and most zealous. But 
like most comparatively irresponsible officials, he was fre- 
quently apt to take the law into his own hands, and dur- 


of 'power succeeded in amassing an enor- 
mous fortune. Thus, once when on a visit of inspection 
at the Fortress, one of the political prisoners, a certain 
Bogolouboff , not having saluted him though it was later 
most clearly proved that he had done so had his cap 
knocked off by the irate General and was ordered to be 
whipped, a sentence which, though manifestly in viola- 
tion of all Russian law, was executed within twenty-four 
hours. The whipping, somehow, in spite of all efforts to 
have the affair hushed up, got public, and more than one 
paper even ventured to expose the illegal nature of the 
punishment. Vera Zassulitch, who had not long quitted 
one of the Government educational institutes, and who, 
as was alleged, had been on intimate relations with Bogo- 
louboff, heard of the humiliation to which he had been 
subjected and determined to revenge him. For this 
purpose she came up to St. Petersburg from her country 
home in the Government of Yaroslaff, and presenting 
herself at the Police Master's official residence on one of 
his public reception days, whilst pretending to give a 
petition into his hands, drew forth a pistol from under 
her coat, and wounded the General so severely that his 
life for several days was despaired of, and he was com- 
pelled to retire finally from all public duties. The woman 
was arrested, and after long preliminary examinations was 
brought to trial. There was no doubt of her guilt, nor 
did she in any way attempt to deny it ; but on the con- 
trary gave to the court a full and precise account of the 
reasons that had prompted her to commit the crime. 
The effect of her defence was so great that the jury, after 
a short deliberation, brought in a verdict of not guilty. 
The Litenaya, a wide street in which the court where 
she was tried is situated, was thronged with a crowd of 
people anxiously awaiting the result, and when the fact 


of her acquittal became known, the verdict was received 
with the most uproarious applause, and a serious collision 
took place between the people and the police, in the 
course of which several persons were killed, but Vera 
was rushed away by the sympathizing mob and concealed 
in a neighboring house. What is most remarkable, how- 
ever, is that the metropolis press, without a single excep- 
tion, warmly approved of her acquittal, one paper declar- 
ing the verdict to be "the voice of God;" and the 
Moscow Gazatte, the avowed organ of the Retrogradists, 
was singular in its condemnation of what it declared to 
be "a gross miscarriage of injustice." 

A resident of St. Petersburg, who was present a't the 
trial of Vera Zassulitch, and who was familiar with her 
life, gave me the following history of the woman : She was 
the daughter of a Russian officer in high rank, and at the 
time of committing the crime was twenty-eight years of 
age. She was a well educated and attractive lady, but 
so thoroughly imbued with revolutionary doctrines that 
she sacrificed all other interests for the cause of Nihi- 
lism, though it is not known that she contributed any- 
thing more dangerous than her influence ; notwithstand- 
ing this, for more than eleven years preceding her attack 
upon Gen. Trepoff, she endured continual persecu- 
tions at the hands of the police, and it is to the sympa- 
thy universally evoked by the account of her sufferings 
that she mainly owed her acquittal from the terrible 
crime of which she was manifestly guilty, and that the 
great populur enthusiasm with which the verdict was re- 
ceived in Russia is due. At the age of seventeen, while 
trying to support herself as a bookbinder at St. Peters- 
burg, she was arrested, owing to being the intimate school- 
friend of a young lady named Netchaieff , whose brother 
had just been implicated in some conspiracy at Moscow. 



According to some accounts, Yera Zassulitch acted as a 
species of go-between and letter-carrier ; but this is not 
confirmed, and, be her offence what it might, she was 
closely imprisoned for two years without the slightest 
shadow of a trial. A few days after her release, more- 
over, she was again arrested for no ostensible reason, 
and carried off this time to Eastern Russia, and might 


have perished with cold on the journey had not a kind 
gendarme lent her his cloak. She remained at Krestsi, 
in the province of Novgorod, under police supervision 
for two more years, and in 1871 was allowed to go to 
Tver to live with a brother-in-law, also a political exile. 
The latter, however, getting into trouble, owing to the 


dissemination of prohibited books, Vera Zassulitch was 
once more arrested and brought to St. Petersburg. In 
1873 she was transferred to Kharkoff , and in 1875 was 
at last liberated. From that time she appears to have 
lived in retirement until July, 1876, when her feelings 
were excited by the details of -the cruel treatment of a 
political prisoner named Bogoluboff, who had been flog- 
ged by order of General Trepoff , the Prefect of Police 
at St. Petersburg, for some act of insubordination, but 
mainly because he had neglected to take off his cap on 
meeting that official for a second time in the prison pre- 
cincts. As Vera Zassulitch well knew the hardships of 
prison life, and the tyranny of the officials, this story 
made an intense impression on her mind, and, after wait- 
ing some time to see if any official notice would be given 
to the affair, she determined to take the matter in hand 
herself, and, in her own words, "At the price of my 
own ruin to draw public attention to the affair, and prove 
that a human being may not be insulted in that way with 
impunity. It is a terrible thing to raise one's hand 
against a fellow creature, but I could find no other 
means. ... It was all the same to me whether I 
killed or wounded the Prefect, and when I fired at him I 
did not aim at any particular place." To be brief, Vera 
Zassulitch sought an interview with General Trepoff in 
his reception room, and then and there shot him in the 
side with a revolver. For this she was brought to trial 
early in the month, the jury before whom she appeared 
being half composed of Government officials, the re- 
mainder being formed of persons in good position. The 
result was a verdict of " Not Guilty," a decision which was 
greeted with tremendous -enthusiasm by an audience com- 
posed of some 600 persons, the-applause being taken up by 
the crowd outside. On her appearance a perfect tumult en- 


sued, and numerous arrests were made by the police, sev- 
eral of the rioters being shot. Had she not escaped, 
through the aid of friends who had a closed carriage in 
waiting, expecting her acquittal, Vera Zassulitch would 
no doubt have been re-arrested and tried before a mili- 
tary Court Martial, in which event she would have been 
convicted a-nd executed. But on the other hand, so 
. great was the popular sympathy for her that had the ver- 
dict of the jury been " Guilty," no one who is acquainted 
with the intense feeling manifested in her interest can for 
a moment doubt that the mob would have rushed into the 
court-room and torn to pieces not only the jurors but also 
the judges a-nd prosecutors. She is supposed to be in 
Switzerland, under protection of an assumed name and 
the revolutionary party, but others stoutly maintain that 
she was captured and secretly put to death. 

Later events have proved that the acquittal of Zassulitch, 
even more than the clemency shown to Karakozoff, was 
a mistake. The Nihilists only became bolder in their 
operations than they had shown themselves to be before. 
The attack on Mezentrieff soon followed. In spile of 
the hateful office which he held, the high character he 
bore had long won for him general and ungrudged es- 
teem. The plot against him was most cautiously planned 
weeks before it was carried into execution A thorough 
bred horse and a well furnished droshky were hired, and 
for some mornings were regularly to be seen standing at 
the corner of Michel Square and the Italianskaya street, 
which the General invariably passed while taking his 
usual early morning walk. On a morning of June, 1877, 
as was afterward proved, the three or four droshkies 
that happened to be in the street waiting to be hired were 
engaged by persons privy to the plot, so that any attempt 
to arrest them could be rendered, if not impossible, at 


least very difficult. As the General, in company with 
M. Makaroff,- his aid-de-camp, approached the corner, a 
man extremely well dressed came quickly up as if intend- 
ing to speak to him, and with a dagger stabbed him twice. 
The blows were so instantaneously given that M. Makar- 
off, who just then had fallen a few steps behind, had no 
time to interfere, the assassins having leaped into the 
droshky th'at was waiting and drove off down the Sado- 
vaya street and across the Nevski at a furious rate. It 
is true that a soldier, who had seen the whole affair, pur- 
sued the criminals for some little distance, but they were 
soon out of sight, nor were the real murderers arrested 
till after the terrible assassination of March 13, 1881. In 
the meantime, M. Makaroff hurried up to the Gen- 
eral and raising him up with the assistance of those who 
had run to the spot in answer to his cries for help, asked 
him how he felt: "I am dying," was the reply, and 
when conveyed home the doctors who were summoned de- 
clared that there was no hope of recovery. He, however, 
lingered in great agony till about five o'clock in the after- 
noon. The crime, from its daringness and from the well 
arranged skill with which it was carried out, naturally 
caused a great sensation, and the question, what measures 
should be taken for the prevention of such- crimes in 
the future, was anxiously debated by the Imperial Min- 
isters in council. 

It would appear that no decision was immediately come 
to. But before long a fresh and all but successful at- 
tempt on the life of the Emperor convinced those in 
authority that in the war they had to wage with the 
party of Terrorism there could no longer be any dallying, 
but that the sternest measures of repression ^rnust be 
adopted. On April 14, 1879, the Emperor was taking his 
usual early stroll round the Winter Palace, when on com- 


ing near to that part of the building which adjoins the 
Hermitage on the Millionaya side, he met an individual 
who stopped as if to salute him, but drawing out a six bar- 
reled pistol, tired deliberately three times at the Emperor, 
none of which, however, took effect. The would-be as- 
sassin was at once seized by the police and bystanders, 
though not before he had made a most desperate resist- 
ance, and had shot one of the crowd. As soon as he was 
secured he was seized with fainting, and the fact that 
poison was found under his finger-nails and about him 
led to a suspicion that he had poisoned himself . Emetics 
were at once administered, and he recovered. On being 
questioned the prisoner stated that his name was Ivan 
Solovieff, and that he was employed in a provincial branch 
of the Ministry of Finance. Considerable anxiety was 
excited by the . curious coincidence that for three days 
before the attempt placards had been posted on the walls 
of St. Petersburg, from the Secret Executive Committee, 
and addressed to " Mr. Alexander Nicolaievitch," and de- 
claring that the invisible advocates of the people had set 
themselves to clear out the Augean stable of despotism, 
but that neither the Czar nor any member of the dynasty 
had been threatened. After declaring against the army, 
"a cruel and insatiable army of thieves," the tribunals, 
"a mockery of justice," and the generals, "so many 
satraps," the document concluded, "Think, Alexander 
Nicolaievitch, where this must all lead. You go directly 
to perdition, and therefore we spare 3-0111- life." 

It would seem that the Emperor's suspicions had been 
excited by something that struck him in Solovieff 1 s gait 
and manners, and that he had furtively made a signal to 
a soldier who was on guard close by, but that the latter, 
failing to understand the Emperor's meaning, only came 
up after the assassin had fired a third time. Although 




the balls missed, the escape of the Emperor may be 
almost regarded as miraculous, and was due to the for- 
tunate circumstance that the Czar, having observed some- 
thing suspicious in Solovieff, almost before the first shot 
was fired, hurried forward in a zigzag direction, and 
turned under the nearest gateway. That same day a 
Council of Ministers was held under the immediate pres- 
idency of the Emperor, and it was decided to declare 
St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kieff, Odessa, and other large 
cities of the Empire in a state of siege, and to appoint 
military Governors, with all but unlimited powers, over 
provinces of which these cities were the capitals. Thus 
General Guerko, who had won to him self no little renown 
in the inarch across the Balkans during the Turkish cam- 
paign, was made military Governor of St. Petersburg. 

Solovieff was soon brought to trial and convicted, and 
on June 9th his execution took place publicly in a field 
near the Smolensk Cemetery at St. Petersburg. At an 
early hour crowds had collected round the scaffold, and 
when the condemned man arrived it is estimated that 
fully 6,000 spectators were present. Soon after 9 o'clock 
the authorities made their way to the place of execution. 
The scaffold was a plain wooden structure, painted 
black, and surrounded by an iron rail ; outside this rail 
was a strong guard of both infantry and cavalry. At a 
quarter to ten the cart arrived in which Solovieff was 
seated firmly bound. He was dressed in the black coat, 
white trousers and cap usually worn by criminals of the 
higher class, in addition to which a large black label was 
hung round his neck, on which W 7 ere the words, " State 
Criminal." He was unbound, and, having ascended the 
steps which led to the scaffold, with undaunted firmness, 
stood calmly regarding the crowd while the sentence was 
once more read to him. The newspaper reporters alone 




seemed to attract his attention. The priest then stepped 
up to him, but his offers of consolation were quietly and 
politely refused. The hangman then placed the white 
shirt and cap on the unfortunate man, and exactly at ten 
o'clock, amid the noise made by a band of drummers se- 
lected from the different regiments, the board was 
dragged away, and after a brief struggle Solovieff ceased 
to exist. The body in half-an-hour's time was removed 
by a strong escort of Cossacks to the place of burial. 

The futility of all repressive measures was, however, 
made evident by subsequent events. The work of the terror- 
ists was not interrupted for a single day, as we now know 
from the confessions subsequently made by one of their 
agents, a certain Goldenberg, during his imprisonment in 
the Fortress. Many of the stories concerning their activ- 
ity are mere fictions, but the following has been vouched 
for on the best authority : One day General Drenteln, 
the successor of Mcventrieff, found on the table in his 
office a threatening letter, and when he had read it, he 
laughingly turned to his private adjutant, the only official 
then in the room, with the remark: "They might as 
well write their letters on clean paper." The next morn- 
ing another letter was discovered on the same spot, apol- 
ogizing for the " unseemly appearance of the letter of 
yesterday," and expressing a hope that the present one 
would meet with the General's approval. Three years 
later, after the arrest of Kousakoff and the other crimi- 
nals concerned in the assassination of the Emperor, proofs 
were forthcoming of the actual complicity in the proceed- 
ings of the Nihilists of more than one trusted official in 
the Secret Police Department. But, as I have said, the 
party of terror all this time continued their work. Ac- 
cording to the statement made by Fliaboff at the great 
State Trial in March, 1882, the central committee decided 



in August, 1879, to make a mine under the railroad from 
Krusk to Moscow, about 17 versts from the latter city, 
the mine to be blown up when the train should pass with the 
Emperor and his suite on their return from Livadia in 
the Crimea. A small house was hired near the railway, 
and an underearth passage was dug from the house up to 
the right-hand rail, the work being carried on with the 
greatest circumspection. It is strange and at the same 
time shows how ineffective Russian police administration 
is, that a work of such dimensions and requiring a long 
period of time for its execution, could have been carried 
out without exciting the suspicions of the police ; the more 
so as it had been noticed that carts and wagons containing 
packages more or less heavy were frequently of an even- 
ing driven into the courtyard and there unloaded. The 
Imperial authorities, it is true, wisely adopted the most 
stringent methods of precaution. Thus not only one or 
two pilot trains were sent along the whole line, but thn 
train in which the Emperor was traveling was made to run 
along the left instead of the right track. The explosion, 
which took place on the evening of Dec. 1, 1879, proved 
to be extremely violent. It tore up the ground for a consider- 
able distance, destroyed several of the carriages, and severe- 
ly wounded four or five persons. But, of course, it did not 
touch the Emperor, who had already passed half an hour 
previously in another train. When the place was search- 
ed, it was discovered that the criminals, the principal ones 
being Fliaboff and his mistress, must at the moment the 
connecting wire was fired have escaped through the back 
door of the house, and availing themselves of the dark 
night easily succeeded in escaping. The house was found 
to be furnished in such a manner as to perfectly disarm 
all suspicion. On the walls were hung portraits of the 
reigning Emperor and Empress as well as of the crown 



prince and princess, whilst a lump was burning before the 
holy image of St. Nicholas in the corner'of the room front- 
ing the door. Behind the sofa the lower part of the wall 
close to the floor liad been removed, from which point the 

excavation had been made. The greatest indignation was 
excited throughout Russia by the news of the attempt, 
and the most enthusiastic popular greeting accorded to the 


.Czar, who in his speech to the Moscow authorities alluded 
to his escape with devout thankfulness, but added : " The 
Revolutionary spirit must be exterminate^, and I therefore 
turn to you and all well-thinking men for help in eradi- 
cating the evil, which has taken deep root." Curiously 
enough, this dastardly outrage' occurred after a special 
act of clemency. At a trial of Socialists which took place 
at St. Petersburg, one young man, Mirsky, who attempt- 
ed to assassinate General Drenteln, being condemned to 
death, was subsequently reprieved ; while another, named 
Karkoff, had his sentence remitted from hard labor in the 
Siberian mines to ten years' imprisonment in a fortress. 
Though numerous arrests were made, 110 real clue was 
discovered, and the true history of the attempt became 
known only after the death of the late Emperor. Nor 
were the terrorists discouraged by their repeated failures. 
Several of the leaders of the movement, among others 
the notorious Hartmaim, arrived in Russia from abroad ; 
the services of experts well versed in the preparation of 
dynamite explosions, as for example, Kiebalchitch, were 
secured, and Fiiaboff had placed under his immediate or- 
ders forty-seven men who were pledged to obey him im- 
plicitly and to carry out blindly his instructions whatever 
they might be. It was now resolved to strike a mortal 
blow, not only at the Emperor but at the whole Imperial 
Family, and the newly formed scheme for its atrocious 
boldness can only be compared with the famous Gunpow- 
der Plot in England. It was determined to blow up that 
part of the Winter Palace in which the rooms of the Em- 
peror are situated, the explosion to take place directly 
under the large dining saloon, and to be fired at a time 
when the Emperor, his family and guests were already 
seated at the table. Wild as the attempt may appear, 
the preparations for its execution were carried on w ch 




greater success than many might suppose to be possible, 
owing to the habitual laxity with which the officials Avhose 
special charge it was to guard the palace, performed their 
duties. In the course of subsequent investigations it 
came out that more than one hundred and fifty persons, 
supposed to be connected with the lackeys and servants 
of the palace, had for years been living in the building un- 
provided with any kind of passport and free from all sur- 
veillance. Equally lax was the watch kept over the nu- 
merous workmen almost constantly employed in repairing 
one or another portion of the palace. Even to the pres- 
ent day it is not positively known who placed the in- 
fernal machine in the vault where some carpenters and 
bricklayers were engaged working. Against those ar- 
rested no sufficient evidence could be brought. They 
were evidently mere decoys, and the real criminal, the 
chief carpenter, succeeded in escaping. On February 
17, 1880, a dinner party took place at the palace, the 
principal guests being the Prince of Bulgaria and the 
Duchess of Edinburgh. The dinner was fixed for six 
o'clock, but the Emperor remained in his private room a 
few minutes, not more than five, talking with the Prince, 
and to this unintended delay must be attributed the es- 
cape of the Emperor and his guests. They had scarcely 
crossed the threshold of the room when a terrible crash 
was heard, a large hole was torn in the floor immediately 
in front of the Emperor, huge candelabras were thrown 
from the table and lustres torn out of the wall, while the 
whole place was covered with clouds of dust, masses of 
broken glass, and fragments of shattered furniture. At 
the same moment the gas throughout the palace was ex- 
tinguished. As soon as lights could be brought, mes- 
sengers were sent to make enquiries about the Empress, 
who was lying ill in a distant room of the palace, and 


who, happily, had not in any way been injured, a minute 
search was set on foot and the extent of the catastrophe 
soon became known. In the vaulted room, where the in- 
fernal clock-machine had been placed, were a number of 
soldiers belonging to the Finland Regiment and waiting 
their turn to go on duty in the palace. Eight of these were 
instantly killed and forty-five were terribly wounded. The 
clock had been mounted so as to explode precisely at five 
minutes past six, by which time it was expected the Empe- 
ror and the others would have taken their places at the table. 

The Czarevitch and the Grand Duke Vladimir were 
the first to reach the guard-room after the explosion in 
the palace, arriving there just as the officers, fearing dan- 
ger to the Emperor, were about to lead the remaining 
sentinels to the Imperial apartments. The Grand Duke 
Vladimir hastened to the barracks to give the alarm, 
and brought back the Preobrajensky Guards to the pal- 
ace. It is said that at the moment of the explosion 
bombs were thrown in the streets outside the palace, 
some of which exploded under a private carriage, but 
the facts are, the cavalry, telegraphed for as soon as the 
alarm was given, galloped off in such haste that many of 
their cartridges were jerked out of their cartouche cases, 
and the streets were strewn with these explosives, which, 
of course, went off under the wheels of passing vehicles, 
the occupants of which were arrested by the police and 
bystanders who were ignorant of what had really oc- 
curred . 

In striking contrast with the domestic treachery which 
encompassed the Czar in his palace is the fidelity 
of the Finnish soldiers who formed his body-guard, 
who, through all political ordeals and insurrectionary 
conflicts never once faltered in allegiance to their 
Sovereign. Horribly sudden as the whole mur- 


derous surprise was, not one of the injured men 
would leave his post until their own officer in charge, 
who was himself wounded, came to give the word of 

The Czar is said to have been very much affected ; so 
much so as at one time almost to have lost his self-com- 
mand. When, however, Lord Dufferin called to con- 
gratulate him upon his escape, the Emperor remarked 
that it was to Divine Providence he stood indebted, and 
that God having mercifully delivered him twice from 
very imminent peril, he was content to trust his life for 
the future to His protecting hand. The Duchess of Ed- 
inburgh displayed great fortitude and presence of mind 
in the trying crisis. This was the more noticeable 
from the fact that Her Imperial Highness was much af- 
fected on the occasion of Solovieffs attempt, being then 
in a delicate state of health. 

After the explosion the Emperor left the Winter Pal- 
ace, and went under escort of thirty Cossacks to the old 
Paul Palace, where he slept. Next day, on his way to 
attend the Te Deum in the Imperial Chapel in the pal- 
ace, he stopped before the officers of the Finnish Regi- 
ment, and thanked the colonel for the manner in which 
the soldiers had fulfilled their duty, referring to the fact 
that all the sentinels remained at their posts, notwith- 
standing that a company of the Preobrajensky Regiment 
had arrived to relieve them. 

On Friday following the soldiers of the Finnish Guards 
who were killed by the explosion were interred with great 
solemnity, the funeral being attended by the Grand Duke 
Constantine and many generals and staff officers. The 
coffins were borne to the grave by officers, and there was 
an immense crowd of spectators. General Gourko, in 
an order to the troops announcing the interment of their 




comrades, said : " May the honorable conduct of the men 
who were wounded by the explosion convince the insane 
criminals who planned the attempt that neither their en- 
deavors to bribe the soldiers nor the fear of "death itself 
can shake the loyalty of the troops." The Emperor and 
the Czarevitch attended the funeral ceremony celebrated 
in the barracks previous to the starting of the procession 
for the place of interment, and afterward visited the 
wounded men in the hospital. It is a remarkable coinci- 
dence that it was this same Finnish regiment which, in 
1825, was suddenly called to the Winter Palace to over- 
awe and supercede the Grenadiers, whose loyalty was 
doubted ; and it was to them that Alexander, then only a 
child of seven, was entrusted by his father Nicholas. 
Taking the little Grand Duke Alexander by the hand, he 
said, "I confide my son to your care; it will be your 
duty to defend his life." The rough Finns, it is said, 
were moved to tears. They took up the child in their 
arms, passed him from rank to rank, and swore to form 
a rampart of their bodies behind which he should be safe. 
The building where the explosion took place, which is 
the largest and finest palace in the world, is the usual win- 
ter residence of the Czar and his Court. On one side it 
fronts on the river Neva, while on the other there is a large 
open space called the Palace Square, in which stands 
Alexander's Column, a monolith of red granite eighty 
feet high. On the right of the palace is Peter's Square, 
which contains the celebrated statue of Peter the Great, 
and the Field of Mars, a parade ground large enough for 
40,000 men to manoeuvre in. On the east side of the 
palace, arid connected with it by a covered way, is 
the Empress Catharine's Hermitage, now a museum. 
The Nevski Perspective is in front of the Admiralty 
and close to the Imperial Palace, which, after being 


burnt down in 1837, was rebuilt in six months in the 
middle of winter by order of the Emperor Nicho- 
las. Each story was dried with immense fires as soon as 
erected, and several thousand workmen met with their 
death during the rebuilding, in consequence of the alter- 
nate exposure to the excessive heat while at work in the 
apartments, and the rigorous temperature outside. The 
palace, which is painted a brick red, is four stories 
high, or about eighty feet. The frontage is 445 feet in 
length, and the breadth 350 feet. The principal en- 
trance is from the Neva, and leads by a magnificent 
flight of marble steps to the State Apartments of the 
palace. A gateway in the centre of the building, facing 
Alexander's Column, opens into -a large court. The in- 
terior is most gorgeous, suites of splendid halls being 
filled with marble, malachite vases, and pictures ; whilst 
the Crown and other jewels are of almost inestimable 
value. The Czar has his apartments on the first floor 
and in the corner of the Winter Palace that overlooks the 
Neva and the Admiralty. The Empress inhabits the 
other corner, and between the two is the family dining- 
room. At one and six o'clock the Czar, the Czarina, 
and the Grand Dukes Alexis, Sergius, and Paul formerly 
met for breakfast and dinner. The Czarevitch and the 
Grand Duke Vladimir, who are both married, have 
also general invitations to join the Imperial circle ; but 
the other members of the family wait until they are 
bidden. Six covers are always laid, and the service 
is performed by three French maitres d 'hotel ', who 
relieve each other every fortnight. The arrangement 
of the apartments is similar to that of Versailles, 
there being a multitude of small rooms, and an im- 
mense number of civil and military officials having 
their abode here in separate suites of rooms. The 


guards' room, beneath which the charge of dynamite was 
deposited, is on the ground floor, and was formerly the 
sleeping apartment of the Grand Duke Nicholas when a 

The indignation excited by a crime that involved the 
lives of so many who, even adopting the views of its per- 
petrators, were completely innocent, was greatly in- 
creased in consequence of the general belief that on the 
approaching 19th of February an imperial manifesto 
would be issued, conferring political rights on Russian 
subjects more in accordance with the ideas of the nine- 
teenth century than those hitherto accorded. That all 
this was more than mere rumor, is certain from papers 
known to have been left by the late Emperor, and in ac- 
cordance with which tk&zemstra, or provincial assemblies, 
would have been granted representative rights which 
they have long petitioned for but never obtained. We 
can scarcely wonder that all such constitutional reforms 
were abandoned, and it speaks much in favor of the late 
Emperor, that even after February 17, he still had suffi- 
cient nerve and belief in the future of Russia, to 
refuse to adopt measures of an exclusively repressive 
and retrograde character. On the 25th of February a min- 
isterial committee " for the preservation of Imperial order 
and public safety," was established under the presidency 
of Count Loris Melikoff, which became an order in its 
enforcement little less than terrorism. A night patrol 
was organized in St. Petersburg which summarily ar- 
rested every crowd, numbering more than five persons, 
caught upon the streets after ten o'clock at night, and 
single individuals were required to have their passports 
constantly with them if they appeared away from their 
homes after dark. But this was not the most serious re- 
striction placed upon the personal liberty of citizens 



throughout Russia. The order became finally the means 
which malicious persons utilized to destroy their enemies. 
It was only necessary to report, under oath, the active 


sympathy of any person with the Nihilists to secure their 
imprisonment, and execution or transportation to Siberia. 
Thus a cowardly criminal could go before the Third Sec- 


tion chief and make oath that he had detected his neigh- 
bor in the act of circulating revolutionary papers, or com- 
mitting some other prohibited act, and upon this infor- 
mation the unfortunate, and perhaps innocent person, 
would be summarily arrested and taken off to the Fortress 
prison. Hundreds of instances occurred in which blame- 
less men were torn from their families in the middle of 
the night, and without being permitted to say even good- 
bye to their wives or children, were ruthlessly carried to 
that dreadful political prison from which they either 
never departed alive or were sent across the desert wilds 
of Siberia to spend the remainder of their wretched lives 
in exile. 

In 1878 no less than one hundred and ninety-three 
persons were brought to trial at one time, charged 
with various grades of treason and conspiracy against the 
Government. Among the prisoners who were condemned 
was a spirited and intelligent man named Muishkin, who 
was once a justice of the peace, and proprietor of a print- 
ing-office from which forbidden books were issued. In 
1875 he went to the distant forests of East Siberia with 
the intention of freeing the famous thinker and critic, 
Tchernieshevski, who had been in penal servitude for 
twelve years for his connection with a secret society, but 
he was unsuccessful. His speech before the tribunal 
brought tears to some, caused others to turn pale, to 
tremble, or to become furious. He was condemned to 
twenty years' penal servitude at the Central Prison at 
Kharkov. Single-handed, and with no other implement 
than his hands, this gigantic minded man began to make 
an underground passage in his prison to effect his escape. 
He had nearly finished the tunnel when it was discovered ; 
he was unmercifully lashed then, and, like many other 
Russian political prisoners, he has since become mad 




from the barbarous treatment he received. Muishkin's 
insanity dates from October, 1880. 

But condemnations and repressive measures in no wise 
deterred the Nihilists, who, in fact, became bolder and 
more revengeful. In the meantime the Government was 
active in bringing to punishment those arrested for treas- 
onable crimes. In November, 1880, sixteen Nihilists of 
both sexes were arraigned for treason in St. Petersburg. 
The principal prisoner was Kviatkovski, who was accused 
of contributing to the revolutionary organ Will of the 
People, and also of being connected with the conspiracy 
to blow up the Winter Palace. Others were charged 
with complicity in the murder of Prince Krapotkin, in 
Solovieff's attempted assassination of the Czar ; others 
in the attempt to blow up the Imperial train at Moscow ; 
two in the attempts at Alexandrovolsk and Odessa to 
assassinate Imperial officers, and two others of being 
connected with secret printing presses. Several of the 
prisoners were arrested on their own confession, so brave 
and fanatically patriotic to their purposes were some of 
the Nilhists. Upon this trial it was proved that a car- 
penter named Stephen Chalturen, or Halturin, who form- 
erly lodged in the basement of the Winter Palace, was 
the author and most active agent in the palace explosion. 
Some of these prisoners were uncommonly well dressed 
and presented a generally intelligent appearance. Kviat- 
kovski and Presniakov were convicted and executed in 
the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul on the 5th of No- 
vember, 1880. The public were rigidly excluded from the 
scene of execution, and but one foreign correspondent was 
permitted to be present. Early in the morning the two 
prisoners were taken from their cells, and as usual were 
driven to the scaffold in a cart, riding with their backs to 
kerses, and bearing a placard with the inscription 


" State Criminal " on their breasts. At the glacis the 
fortress where the scaffold had been erected the prisoners 
descended and mounted the scaffold barefooted, where 



they were clad in the long penitential shirt of condemned 
parricides and were pinioned to two upright posts 


their sentence was read out to them. This over, a 
priest came forward with a cross, which both kissed, and 
then kissed one another, while he recited some prayers. 
The executioner then adjusted the rope, and raising the 
condemned men high in the air caused their speedy strang- 
ulation. The ground was kept by a detachment of the 
Finland Guard, who were on duty in the Winter Palace 
on the night of the explosion. 

Five others of those condemned at the same trial, No- 
vember 10th, were Kviatkovski, Shiraiev, Mdlles. Fig- 
ner, Ivanova, and Griasnova, whose portraits are given. 
Alexander Kviatkovski, of noble descent, the most im- 
portant of the prisoners, was arrested by the St. Peters- 
burg police in December, 1879, at the same time as 
Mdlle. Figner. Three mines ready for explosion, but in 
dissected pieces, were found in their lodging, as well as 
dynamite and fulminate, with revolvers, poison, and the 
plan of the Winter Palace, in which, later on, the explo- 
sion took place. 

The evidence which came out at this trial disclosed 
that Kviatkovski, who headed the Terrorist party, was 
one of those concerned in the explosion of the Winter 
Palace on April 14, 1880, when eleven men were killed 
and sixty-six were wounded ; that he was an indirect 
party to the attempt on the Emperor's life by Solovieff 
on April 2, 1879 ; and that he took part in the secret 
congress of the Terrorists at Lipetsk, in 1879, where a 
serfes of attempts on the Emperor's life were decided 
upon, in addition to other less well-known offences. 

Mdlle. Figner, daughter of a high Russian official, 
was twenty-two years old. She was acquitted of any 
participation in the Winter Palace conspiracy, but 
was condemned to fifteen years' penal servitude on 
the charge of her connection with the Terroristic party, 




and for publishing forbidden works. The Court, pitying 
her youth, begged of the Czarevitch to change her sen- 
tence into transportation to Eastern Siberia, where her 
sister was already in exile. Mdlle. Figner had been a 
medical student, and she also studied music at the Con- 
servatoire, St. Petersburg. Her voice is said to be one 
of the most beautiful in Europe. 

Shiraiev, of a peasant family, had been studying in a 
veterinary institute. He lived some time in London and 
in Paris, and on his return to Russia, in 1879, he joined 
the Terrorist party, and with Hartmann prepared dyna- 
mite for mines. He took part in the secret congress, 
and with Hartmann again was a party in the Moscow ex- 
plosion, December 1, 1879. He directed the digging of 
mines near Odessa and Alexandrovska after this, and 
shortly after was arrested by the police at St. Petersburg. 
Condemned to be hung, his sentence was remitted into 
one of penal servitude for life. 

Mdlle. Ivanova, daughter of a major, is the heroine of 
one of the most extraordinary transactions for a young 
lady of her age (then only twenty-two years). When 
the secret printing office of the Terrorist organ N~arod- 
naia Volia (People's Will) was discovered, she, with 
Mdlle. Griasnova and three men, revolvers in hand, kept 
the police at bay for three hours, firing more than one 
hundred shots. The gendarmes answered by volleys at 
both the windows and the doors, and only succeeded in 
overcoming the party when their stock of cartridges was 
exhausted. One of the printers, an unknown person, 
blew out his brains on seeing the inevitable end, the four 
others surrendered. Mdlle. Ivanova' s hands and legs 
were tied with ropes, and she was thrown on the ground ; 
in this state she reproached her comrades for lack of en- 
ergy in seif-defense. The gendarme officer, hearing 


that, struck her in the face with the butt end of his re- 
volver, and kicked her severely. She complained of the 
man then a witness against her hefore the court mar- 
tial, but the officer, though he could not deny the fact, 
disregarded her words. 

The two printers, Ivanova and Griasnova, were con- 
demned to fifteen years penal servitude, but at the solic- 
itation of the court-martial, the heir apparent changed 
the sentence of the former to four years penal servitude, 
and transportation to Siberia for the latter. Among 
others, Papov, son of a priest, was convicted about the 
same time by a court-martial held at Kiev, and sen- 
tenced to be hung. He stood at the head of that party 
of Socialist propagandists whose distinguishing feature 
is that they do not practice any illegal measures either 
for self-defense or for propagandism. His bold and 
straightforward speech before the Court was the cause of 
his condemnation to death, but his sentence was subse- 
quently altered by the Emperor into penal servitude for 

Dr. Weimar, whose trial at St. Petersburg in the spring 
of 1880 caused such a sensation throughout Europe, was 
condemned to penal servitude at the same time as Mrs. 
Olga Nathanson. Dr. Weimar was accused of helping 
two other Nihilists, Mirski and Solovieff, in their crim- 
inal designs. He gave his horse to Mirski for his attempt 
on the life of Drenteln, Chief of the Third Section of 
the Emperor's Chancellery, and bought the revolver for 
Solovieff. In the month of October Olga Nathanson be- 
came mad in the fortress of St. Petersburg, before she 
could be sent to Siberia. The real cause of her insanity, 
it is alleged, lies in the fact that she, with three other 
young friends, was the subject of criminal violence on 
the part of the prison officials. 


The next attempt at assassination occurred directly 
after the adoption of the repression measures of 1880, 
when the Armenian General Loris Melikoff was appointed 
Chief of the Executive, with unlimited powers, and had 
inaugurated a more rigid policy than even his predeces- 
sors. The attack was, no doubt, directly attributable to 
the execution of a sub-lieutenant named Donbrovin, which 


occurred at St. Petersburg, and upon which occasion Gen- 
eral Gourko issued an order to the troops in which 
he cited the example of Donbrovin as a proof that the 
aim of the revolutionists was to make the military their 
accomplices. General Melikoff warmly approved this 
accusation and made many threats, declaring his purpose 
to deal with the Nihilists despotically, and indeed he 
did bring many of the revolutionists to judgment. 



Many messages, containing desperate threats, were 
sent to Melikoff, which caused that astute official to ob- 
serve special care, but a determined fellow whose name 

I could not find in the records, caught sight of Gen- 
eral Melikoff as he was leaving his carriage to enter 
the Third Section, and made a vicious attempt to shoot 
him, discharging a pistol twice at the General but with- 
out effect. The assassin was arrested and being brought 


to trial was convicted and publicly executed. The pris- 
oner was enveloped with a black shroud, only the face 
being exposed, and, seated upon a peculiar kind of a 
chair placed on a box wagon with the back toward the 
horses, he was driven slowly through the streets, pre- 
ceded and followed by mounted guards. The engraving, 
besides giving a portrait of General Melikoff's assailant, 
shows the method by which prisoners condemned to 
death are conducted to the place of execution. 


THE culmination of that desperate, unreasonable ven- 
geance which animated the Russian Nihilists was reached 
on the 13th of March, 1881, when the Czar Alexander II., 
who deserved little but praise from his countrymen, and 
whose name must ever be associated with the greatest re- 
forms ever projected by a Russian ruler, was struck 
down, after five previous attempts, in a horrible death. 
We can only measure the full terribleness of that most 
atrocious act, by calling to mind the agony we ourselves 
suffered in the assassination of our honored and chosen 
rulers, Lincoln and Garfield. Autocrat though he was, 
Alexander II. possessed such qualities of heart and mind 
as made him very dear to the masses of his subjects. 
Unfortunately he was cradled in adversity and brought 
up through circumstances which enforced his familiarity 
with conspiracy. 

Born April 29, 1818, Alexander was only seven years 
of age when the famous conspiracy of the " Decem- 
brists " Russia's first open cry for a constitution broke 
out against his father on his accession to the throne, 




which rooted in him a horror of reform and made his 
reign one continuous repression of liberty and speech. 
Alexander was provided with a tutor who inspired him 
with a love for literature and romance, but he was not per- 
mitted to follow this gratifying and peaceful inclination. 
Nicholas, of iron will, compelled him to abandon every 
pursuit that promised contentment, and at seventeen 
Alexander became his father's Aid-de-Camp and com- 
mandant of the Lancers' Guard. But the boy Prince 
Imperial could not cultivate a love for the military, and 
after a short service so weary of spirit did he become 
that his father, much against his will, gave Alexander a 
vacation, during which he visited Germany and there 
wooed and won the Princess .Maria of Hesse Darmstadt 
a veritable love-match. Upon his return to Russia with 
his young and loving bride, Alexander interested himself 
in encouraging education and founded a chair of Finnish 
literature. In 1850 he visited Southern Russia, where af- 
ter campaigning for two months in the Caucasus, upon 
Woronzow's recommendation, the order of St. George was 
conferred upon him. But under Nicholas all persons, even 
heirs to the throne, were inconsequential unless they had 
won honors upon the field of battle or by diplomacy re- 
dounding to his advantage. Thus, beyond certain disagree- 
ments with the " Old Russian " party, whose idol was 
his younger brother Constantine, and a decided though 
silent disapproval of his father's policy in bringing on the 
Crimean war, there was little to observe in the Czare- 
vitch's unassuming life until the fateful day when defeat 
and disappointment drove his father to seek surcease in 
death. In his dying moments, March 2, 1855, Nicholas 
called Alexander to his bedside, and taking his hand, 
said: "My son, I now bestow upon you the crown of 
Russia, in succession to your dying father ; you will, I 




am sorry to say, find the burden heavy," and then ex- 

How Alexander II. took up the scepter of Government 
and wielded it for the benefit of his subjects has already 
been told, and now remains the task of describing how, 
after several diabolical attempts, he was at last stricken 
down by the fell hand of assassination and left the whole 
civilized world weeping beside his bier. 

It was the custom of the Czar to take mid-day lunch 
every Sunday with his sister in the Michael Palace, which 
stands not far from the center of St. Petersburg, in a con- 
siderable forest of trees surrounded by a high wall. This 
custom being well known, a body of Nihilists set about to 
compass his assassination in the following manner : 

Two of the conspirators engaged a cellar-room under 
a large, lead colored, four-story building which stands on 
the corner of Little Garden street and the Nevski Pros- 
pekt, and immediately facing the large bronze statue of 
Catharine II. This place was chosen because there are 
only two streets leading from Michael Palace, viz. : 
Little Garden street from the east, and an exit south 
into a narrow street running parallel with the Catharine 
Canal. As the former was generally used by the Czar, 
because of its smooth pavement, it was here that the 
conspirators decided to make most ample preparations to 
accomplish their deadly purpose. 

The cellar-room engaged was used for a considerable 
time as a milk and cheese depot, the better to enable the 
assassins to disguise their real occupation. During this 
time they excavated a tunnel entirely across the street and 
placed therein the enormous charge of sixty pounds of 
dynamite, which was connected by an electric wire, so that 
the mine could be discharged at any instant. It is de- 
clared by those familiar with the destructiveness of this 



most powerful explosive, that had the mine been ex- 
ploded it would have razed fully one-half of the entire 
city and killed thousands of people. 

It is astonishing how great a work was carried on in 

so central a place without detection, particularly since 
the fact is known that General Melikoff received several 
letters notifying him that the end of the Czar Alexander 
was near at hand, and also that his assassination would 



be accomplished on the very day it was brought about. 
This latter information Melikoff communicated to Alex- 
ander and begged of him not to go out on that day, 
but such threats had become too common for this one to 
be specially observed. 

The dynamite mine being completed and ready for its 
deadly work, which it was expected to perform on Sun- 
day afternoon, March 13th, 1881, the assassins posted a 
watch to give information when the Czar should come 
driving from the Michael Palace toward the Nevski Pros- 
pekt. But to make their purpose more certain, although 
it was only on extremely rare occasions that the Emperor 
ever left the palace by the Catharine Canal street, yet in 
view of the possibility that on this occasion he might do 
so, another party of Nihilists were stationed along this 
street, two of them taking their positions near the gate. 
These two were each provided with Orsiui bombs glass 
balls the size of a hen's egg, loaded with dynamite while 
two others stood on the ice in the canal, also having 
bombs in their pockets, while a woman, Sophia Perofs- 
kaja, stood at the corner of the palace grounds from 
whence, by waving a handkerchief, she could signal the 
four conspirators if the Czar should leave the palace by 
Little Garden street. 

Shortly before two o'clock in the afternoon his Maj- 
esty drove out of the palace grounds by way of the 
canal, but scarcely had he proceeded a rod from the gate 
when one of the conspirators threw a bomb which burst 
so far to the rear of the carriage that its force was ex- 
pended on two of the Cossack guards, who were instantly 
killed, together with their horses, while the rear of the 
Imperial carriage was shattered, but the Czar received no 

The report was so great that many person* were iinme- 



diately attracted to the spot. The Czar stepped out of 
the carriage, though his coachman urged him to resume 
his seat, and advanced toward Colonel Dvorketsky, Chief 
of Police, who as usual, was following behindiuasledg*, 

and who had already seized the culprit, who was struggling 
violently with the Colonel and trying to use a pistol and 
dagger. Assistance was at hand, however, and the as- 
sassin was soon disarmed ; he proved to be n young student 
named Rlsakoff, belonging to the Institute of Mining 




Engineers. A moment after, several officers congratu- 
lated the Czar upon his marvellous escape, to whose kind 
words he replied: "Give God the praise," and then 
piously crossing himself, he gave directions concerning 
the care of the wounded and started, on foot, toward the 
Winter Palace. He had taken less than a half-dozen steps 
when another bomb was thrown which struck and burst 
at his feet with most horrible effect. The Czar reeled 
and fell amid a cloud of smoke, uttering but a single cry, 
"Help !" The force of the explosion was so great that 
all the glass in neighboring houses was broken, the assas- 
sin,' Elnikoff, was himself mortally wounded, and a boy 
was instantly killed, while eleven of the Czar's body- 
guard were seriously injured. 

Staff Captain Novikoff was the first to reach his Ma- 
jesty, and throwing himself weeping at the Emperor's 
side, exclaimed, " Good God ! What has happened to 
your Majesty?" The Emperor remained motionless, and 
Novikoff, with the assistance of some sailors, who had 
hurried to the spot, lifted him up, himself holding the 
wounded Czar around the body and breast, while the sail- 
ors, without letting go of their carbines, held the feet. 
The Emperor then attempted to lift his hand to his 
bleeding brow, murmuring twice the word "Cold." 
Novikoff was just about to take his handkerchief from 
his pocket to bind around the Emperor's head, when the 
Grand Duke Michael came up and, bending down close 
to the Emperor's face, said, " How do you feel?" What 
his Majesty replied it was difficult to catch. The Grand 
Duke ordered the sailors to throw down their carbines, 
and then, taking a cap from one of the bystanders, placed 
it on the Emperor's head. They then began to move 
forward. Novikoff asked the Grand Duke whether he 
would allow the bearers to carry the 'Emperor into the 




nearest house for the purpose of applying bandages to 
the wounded parts. The Emperor, who evidently re- 
tained consciousness, on hearing this, whispered in broken 
language, "Carry to palace, there die," and some few 
more words which were unintelligible. 

He was placed in Colonel Dvorketsky's sledge and 
driven directly to the palace, followed by an immense 
crowd of sorrow-stricken citizens, many of whom were 
crying like children who saw before them the mangled 
body of a beloved father. 

Upon reaching the palace the Emperor was carried up 
stairs into his study, where a bed was improvised, upon 
which he was laid for a surgical examination. Six of the 
ablest surgeons in St. Petersburg were instantly called, 
but the moment they saw how dreadful were his wounds 
they frankly told him there was no hope for recovery. 
Plis Majesty suffered excruciating agony so long as con- 
sciousness lasted ; both his legs were crushed and cut in a 
shocking manner, the femoral arteries being severed, from 
which alone he must have died through hemorrhage had 
there been no other injuries ; but .portions of glass were 
driven into the lower parts of his body, while there were 
also two severe cuts in his face from which large pieces 
of glass were extracted. Seeing that death was inevita- 
ble, the Court Chaplain administered the last sacrament 
during a short interval of consciousness and, while the 
surgeons were considering an operation on the Emperor, 
his Majesty surrendered the crown forever, at 3 :35 p. M., 
one hour and fifty minutes after receiving his wounds. 
Surrounding his bedside at the time of dissolution was a 
large number of the Imperial family, including the Czare- 
vitch and Czarina, who manifested such grief as is rarely 

During the painful suspense which followed the first 



miK^, v 



news of the fatal attack on the Emperor an enormous 
crowd of people gathered in Alexander Square fronting 
the palace and gave expression to a sorrow deep-felt and 
inconsolable. At intervals of every fifteen minutes a flag 
was displayed from the palace which indicated the Em- 
peror's condition, and as each time showed him to be 
more rapidly sinking the crowd became more demonstra- 
tive in their grief. When at length the Emperor's death 
was announced by raising the Imperial standard at half- 
mast, the assemblage fell upon their knees and became 
mute in silent prayer. 

On the same evening of the Czar's death the troops in 
St. Petersburg and members of the Imperial family, ac- 
cording to their custsom, kissed the Bible and then took 
the oath of allegiance to the new Czar, who repaired to 
the Winter Palace Chapel and in the presence of the State 
and church dignataries placed the Imperial Crown of 
Russia on his head and was proclaimed Emperor, under 
the title of Alexander III. 

After assuming the crown the new Emperor and Em- 
press drove to their own palace, where they remained until 
his manifesto of March 27th was issued, designating his 
brother, the Grand Duke Vladimir, regent in case of his 
own death before his son, the present Czarevitch, at- 
tained his majority. 

The remains of the dead Emperor lay in state for one 
week, during which time expressions of sympathy and 
horror at the dreadful act which brought about his 
death, poured in upon the Royal Family from every na- 
tion of the earth, besides hundreds of beautiful tokens, 
from contemporary sovereigns in Europe, such as wreaths 
of silver, crowns, crosses and mottoes, most artistically 
worked, of the same precious material. On Sunday, 
March 20th, the body of the Emperor was taken to the 



Fortress Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, where it was de- 
posited in a marble sarcophagus beside the remains of his 
loved Empress, who died of a lingering illness one year be- 

fore. After the workmen had deposited the coffin in the 
vault beneath the Fortress church, and removed their 
tools, the Governor of the city went down into the pit 
alone, srrnng t *nl lkd tk havy dr, and on 



emerging handed the key to the chief of the new Czar's 
household, in the presence of the mourners and the high 

dignitaries. The key was afterward deposited in a place 
of great security in the Winter Palace, 


The Fortress Chapel is one of the rnost elaborate and 
gorgeous, in interior decoration, in the world. It is the 
repository of all members of the House of Romanoff 
since the time of Peter the Great, with the single excep- 
tion of Peter II., who, dying in Moscow, was by his own 
request buried there. The interior presents a rare com- 
bination of gold, silver and tinsel work, giving an ap- 
pearance of fairy-like splendor. Arranged around the 
single immense room, in two rows, are the marble sar- 
cophagi enclosed by an iron railing. From the ceiling 
is suspended a rich canopy reaching down over the 
sacristy, while the pillars are decorated with standards 
taken in the wars with France, Sweden, Poland, Turkey 
and Persia. There are also several silver and gold icons 
sacred images before which candles are kept con- 
stantly burning. On the sarcophagus of Alexander II., 
and also on that of the Empress, there is placed a gold 
crown inside of which a small lamp is always burning, 
which, throwing its rays through interstices of the 
crowns, produces a beautiful effect. On the wall, imme- 
diately opposite, are hung the emblems of mourning pre- 
sented by other countries after the Czar's assassination, 
and also wreaths of immortelles which are replaced, from 
time to time, by those who revere his memory. 

Directly after the Czar's death, Minister Pleve, who 
had been commissioned to the position he now holds for 
his services in detecting those concerned in the palace ex- 
plosion of 1879, was called upon to discover all the con- 
spirators concerned in the commission of the dreadful 
crime, and so thoroughly did he prosecute his investiga- 
tions, that scarcely had the Czar been laid away, before 
he procured the arrest of Nicholas Jelaboft', Sophie Pe- 
rofskaja, Hessy Helfmann, Nicholas Risakoff, Gabriel 
Michailoff, Jean Kibaichich, and several others who, 
however, proved their innocence. 





Directly after these arrests were made another import- 
ant step was taken in consequence of discoveries made in 
examining the premises and opening the dynamite mine 
laid in Little Garden street. It was proved that the 
police had information in connection with the mine, 


which if utilized would have led to the arrest of the con- 
spirators and prevented the Czar' s assassination . The pub- 
lic officers accused of a criminal neglect of their duties 
were Major General Constantine Mrovinsky ; Paul Teg- 
leff , chief officer of the Spassky District ; General Fur- 
soff, chief of the Secret Section of the Prefecture, and 

15<S KUSSIAX A 1 11 1 LI SM AND 

two State Councillors. It was asserted that Mrovinsky 
had been instructed by Tegleff to make a thorough in- 
spection of Kobezeff's quarters, whose milk and cheese 
shop had been reported as being a headquarters for the 
Nihilists. This investigation was not made by Mrovin- 
sky, while Tegleff was charged with neglect in not en- 
forcing the order, as he had direct information of Kobe- 
zeff's plot. Fursoff was also brought to trial because he 
took no measures to verify the suspicions which had been 
communicated to him, and because he did not inform his 
superiors of what was taking place until the evening of 
the assassination. It was shown that the three officers 
did visit Kobezeff's shop, but that fin ding his papers reg- 
ular they made no examination of the premises. 

It was three days after the assassination before the police 
entered the shop, there being grave fears excited that an 
attempt to do so would cause an explosion of the mine. 
The greatest precautions were observed after an entrance 
was at length made, when a tunnel was discovered lead- 
ing across the street, and two batteries in wooden boxes 
were found, with their wires ready for use. Had the 
two poles of the batteries been brought in contact (and 
they were not more than three inches apart) an instan- 
taneous explosion would have followed. It is therefore 
an act of singular fortune that the mine was uncovered 
without causing a calamity of gigantic proportions. 

The assassins, arrested through the skilful detective 
ability of Pleve, were brought to trial on April 9th. 
The Judges, who were presided over by Senator 
Fuehs, held their sittings in the Circuit Court of the Li- 
tejnaja Prospekt. Both the inside and the outside of the 
building were carefully guarded by police, Who prevented 
all persons except those furnished with special passes 
from entering. At each end of the dock also stood two 




gendarmes with drawn swords, and in front of the pris- 
oners sat their counsel. The Procurer, or Crown Advo- 
cate, sat at the end of the judicial bench, and on a table 
in the centre of the room were tire mute evidences of the 
prisoners' guilt in the form of bombs, bottles of explo- 
sive liquids, etc. Above hung a picture of the late Czar, 
draped in black hangings. The proceedings were ex- 
ceedingly simple. First the indictment was read, and to 
this each prisoner in turn replied by a long speech, in no 
way repudiating his or her complicity in the Revolution- 
ary movement, although some denied being concerned ii: 
the actual assassination of the Czar. The prisoners were 
six in number : Risakoff, the man who threw the first 
bomb (Elnikoff, who threw the second, died from the ef- 
fects of the explosion) ; Sophie Perofskaja, the well- 
known female conspirator, who gave the signal by wav- 
ing a handkerchief on the opposite side of the canal ; 
Jelaboff, the organizer of the attempt, and an agent in 
the third degree of the Revolutionary Executive Commit- 
tee ; Kibaichich, who appears to have prepared the ex- 
plosive liquids ; Hessy Helfman, a Jewess, who was ar- 
rested in the Nihilist laboratory in Telejewskaja street a 
day or two after the attempt, and Gabriel Michaeloff , who 
was arrested while entering one of the Nihilists' resorts 
which had been discovered and occupied by the police. 
After the prisoners had made their speeches, witnesses 
were examined, having been previously sworn by minis- 
ters of their own persuasion. These pastors ranged from 
a Moslem mollah to a Dominican monk, and contributed 
a picturesque air to the scene. Then the Procurer, M. 
Mouravieff, commenced his summing-up of the charges 
against the prisoners, seizing the occasion for a political 
denunciation of the Revolutionists and the countries which 
sheltered them, and going minutely into the character and 



career of the various prisoners. Of these Sophie Perofs- 
kaja alone belonged to the class of nobles. She seems, 


however, very early to have had a will of her own, as she 
iled from her home at the age of fifteen, and is stated 
to have lived thereafter on her own resources taking, ia 


late years of her life considerable part in the Nihilists' 
plots. She it was who gave the signal for the explosion 
on the Moscow line when the pilot train was wrecked. 
Her grandfather was a Minister of State, and her father 
had been Governor of St. Petersburg. She had for some 
time been the companion of Jelaboff, who is said to have 
been the type of a Revolutionary leader, and one of the 
most important members of the party. Kisakoff, who 
had been a pupil of the School of Mines, andKibaichich, 
once a member of the Academy of Engineers, were por- 
trayed as simple instruments in Jelaboff 's hands, and also 
Michael off , who was a poor, uneducated peasant. To the 
Procurer replied either the prisoners or their counsel, as 
the former thought proper, and Jelaboff made another 
oration in favor of his Socialistic opinions. 

There is nothing in the annals of criminal jurisprudence 
of more thrilling interest, in the display of unexampled 
fortitude and fanatical heroism, than is shown in the 
record of this great political trial. So great was the 
thirst of these criminals for the approbation of their com- 
patriots, that when this opportunity came for immolating 
themselves in the cause of anarchy, they unflinching!^ 
acknowledged their guilt and dared the Imperial power 
to expend its vengeance on them. To the question put 
to them by the Court : " Are you guilty or not guilty?" 
Jelaboff, the arch assassin, responded: "Guilty, and I 
would to God that my crime- had been greater. Of no 
act in my life am I so proud, and it gives me a felicitous 
pleasure in acknowledging the part I took in assassinat- 
ing the Emperor. Not that I entertained a special per- 
sonal dislike for him, but because, as a patriot, I de- 
tested the policy which he pursued for the oppression of 
his subjects. The fate which overtook the dead Emperor 
awaits his successor as surely as there is a God who 
reckons the crimes of oppressors." 





Jelaboff would have said much more had he not been 
restrained by the bailiffs, this much of his speech being 
delivered in spite of their efforts to enforce his silence. 
The sentiment he expressed was re-echoed by his accesso- 
ries, so that nothing remained for the Court to do but hear 
testimony from the Government witnesses and to pass 
sentence of death upon the accused. It has been stated, 
but not confirmed, that after the prisoners were sen- 
tenced and returned to the Fortress prison, one or more 
of them were subjected to the most agonizing torture, in 
order to force from them a confession that would expose 
all their associates in crime, and whatever information 
they possessed of the Nihilists' plots and intentions. 
There appeared in several daily papers published in 
America, a lengthy correspondence from abroad, detail- 
ing elaborately the punishments inflicted upon the con- 
demned ; that red-hot needles were introduced beneath 
their finger nails, and that the nails on their toes were 
torn off, after which fire was applied to the bared flesh ; 
but though one gentleman in St. Petersburg assured me 
that such torture was really committed upon Jelaboff, yet 
T feel assured there is not the least truth in such report. 
Indeed, two gentlemen who wore witnesses of the execu- 
tion, and who were near enough to Jelaboff to observe 
fully his condition, particularly as his feet were bare, de- 
clared to me that the story of torture was an absurdity. 
My purpose in mentioning the report here is only to give 
it denial, which is an act of justice to the Russian Gov- 
ernment that I cannot consistently withhold. 

The day for the execution of the six criminals was 
fixed for April 15th, but the sentence was commuted as 
to Hessy Helfmann, to exile in Siberia for life, owing to 
the fact that she was about to become a mother. 

On the 13th of April a mad attempt to rescue the prison- 



ers was made by a mob of nearly two hundred persons, 
who forced their way into the large court of the Fortress 
and demanded the production of the culprits. A large 
force of soldiers and police attacked the would-be rescu- 

ers, killing some and wounding several, while nearly all 
the others were arrested ; on the persons of twenty of 
those arrested bombs were found, but why none of them 
were used is a question difficult to answer. 


It was expected that at the execution another attempt 
would be made to rescue the condemned, to meet which 
a large body of soldiers was ordered to escort the cul- 
prits and form in hollow square around the gallows. 
This served to prevent any demonstration upon the part 
of sympathizers, for although the crowd who witnessed 
the execution numbered not less than five thousand per- 
sons, perfect order was maintained; indeed, strange 
enough, there was no sympathy whatever manifested for 
the assassins. 

As the condemned mounted the gallows there was an 
oppressive silence wholly unrelieved until Risakoff fainted 
as the noose was being adjusted about his neck ; the 
others manifested perfect composure to the last. The 
execution, however, proved a sickening scene, for in ad- 
dition to the feeling created by reason of Risakoff faint- 
ing, the rope which suspended Michaeloff broke, so that 
the half -suffocated criminal fell in a heap on the platform. 
Unable now to stand, he was picked up in a limp condition 
by two deputies who adjusted another rope about his neck. 
But astonishing to relate, again the rope broke, and thus the 
horrible scene of hanging one man three times was wit- 
nessed, which drew forth many expressions of disgust from 
the crowd, who jeered at and reviled the executioners. 

Thus terminated the last act connected with the most 
exciting and dreadful incident in Russian history. The 
love borne for Alexander II., by a very large majority of 
his subjects, was greater perhaps than that shown by the 
Russians for any other sovereign, and as time passes their 
appreciation for the many good qualities, which he un- 
doubtedly possessed, rapidly increases, as may be seen by 
the demonstrations still made to keep his memory fresh 
in their hearts. A memorial chapel was erected over the 
spot where the Emperor received his fatal wounds, which 





was dedicated to his remembrance on the 29th of April, 
1881, by the Metropolitan Archbishop Isidore. There 
were present at the services an immense crowd of citizens 
from every part of the Empire, nearly all the Imperial fam- 
ily, Ministers of State, and many foreign ambassadors. 
The new Emperor and Empress were the only notables 
absent, a fact much commented upon at the time, as it 
was an evidence that Alexander III. entertained fears for 
his own life, and therefore would not trust himself among 
a promiscuous assemblage, even though his person were 
guarded by a multitude of soldiers. 

The chapel thus erected was a light frame structure 
covered with immortelles and beautiful flowers contribu- 
ted from relatives and sympathizers at home and abroad. 
During the present year, however, a more substantial 
chapel was built to replace the original one, in which 
there are three altars covered with a full service of 
church plate of gold and silver of the finest chased work- 
manship. It is intended to erect a magnificent memorial 
church on the spot, which is regarded as sacred, out of 
the voluntary contributions made for that purpose by 
faithful subjects of the Empire ; to this end a repository 
is affixed to the chapel which is daily filled by small of- 
ferings from the hundreds of peasants who repair to the 
place to offer up prayers. A guard is constantly sta- 
tioned before the chapel to guard its treasures, and all 
footmen passing the shrine reverently remove their hats 
and cross themselves as a token of the love they bear for 
the Emperor's memory. 



WHEN Alexander III. assumed the royal purple, which 
had been crimsoned by his father's blood, everyone confi- 
dently predicted a great change from the previous ad- 
ministration. So seriously was the nation shocked by 
the death of Alexander II. that there was a revulsion in 
public sentiment against the anarchists, and in favor of the 
autocracy; many leading Nihilists even, particularly in 
London and Geneva, expressed chagrin and condemnation 
at the assassination, which produced an effect in Russia to 
the serious detriment of Nihilism. But this sympathy 
was short-lived, a fact which I have no hesitancy in de- 
claring was due wholly to the retirement Alexander III., 
thus giving incontestable proof of his alarm. Not satis- 
fied with the protection afforded him at his palace in St. 
Petersburg, he removed his State residence to Peterhoff, 
where special arrangements for his security were provided. 

Upon a hill, overlooking the Finland Gulf and com- 
manding a beautiful, though distant view of Cronstandt, 
stands the Imperial Palace, a large and elegant structure 
with all the accessories of royalty. There is a large fish 
pond, and an immense lake adjacent, its shores embow- 
ered Ivy lofty trees and its bosom studded with beau- 
tiful islands, on one of which there is an ornate building 
provided especially for the Emperor to dine in during 
the summer months. The palace grounds are, beyond 
compare, the finest in all Europe, far surpassing those 
around the Great Trianon in Versailles ; indeed, they ap- 
pear more like fairy-land than the surroundings of a self- 
exiled potentate. Such fountains can be seen in no 
other place, and are positively bewildering in their 
beauty. One of these, called the Golden Stairway 


Fountain, is extravagant with magnificence. It consists 
of twenty-four steps, each twenty feet long, one foot high 
and one foot in breadth, of pure gold. Of course 
the steps are not solid gold, for there is not suffi- 
cient of the precious metal in all the world to cast so 
many blocks of such a size ; but the sheets of gold used 
in making them are of enormous value, in fact princely. 
This fountain leads down from the Court entrance of the 
palace, and as the water pours over in a succession of 
cascades, glimmering with a golden sheen, the effect is 
bewitching in its incomparable splendor. But there are 
many other fountains on the grounds of only secondary 
importance, on which gold is a conspicuous feature, 
blending inartistic beauty with statues of men, animals, 
fowls and reptiles. 

But the new Czar takes no pleasure in surroundings 
so grandly beautiful, for looking only to a retreat that 
promises security from Nihilistic conspiracies, he makes 
his residence in a small cottage on thePeterhoff grounds, 
which is enclosed by a double wall ten feet high and two 
feet thick. There is only a small garden about this 
humble building, in which the Czar takes occasional 
walks, but never except in some disguise, on account of 
a distrust which he has for every servant about him. A 
party of Cossacks are day and night on guard around the 
inner wall, and a full company of Finnish guards are al- 
ways on duty, mounted, around the outer wall ; so that 
a body of men who would attempt to forcibly reach the 
Emperor, could only do so by dispersing two lines of 
guards and overcoming a large body-guard that attends 
his Majesty. But even these precautions do not com- 
prise all the measures taken to preserve the Czar's life 
from assassination. He has given an imperative order to 
his guards to shoot down, without challenge, any one who 





shall approach within fifty feet of him in his garden 
without special permission. During my stay in St. Pe- 
tersburg, in July, 1882, a melancholy incident of this 
ridiculous order occurred, which shocked the whole city. 
It being a warm day, the Emperor went into his garden, 
and while passing along one of the gravelled walks, he 
discovered a shrub that had been broken down by some 
careless act. Not far from him was an old man, beyond 
sixty years of age, engaged in cultivating flowers ; the 
Czar beckoned to him, intending to instruct him to 
bind up the broken shrub. In obedience to the tacit 
call, the old man started over to where the Emperor was, 
but when he approached within the forbidden distance, 
a guard, who had not observed the Emperor's motion, 
fired upon the innocent old gardener, killing him instantly. 
It is said the Czar was very much angered at the guard, 
and that besides having his victim buried with the honors 
accorded a faithful soldier who dies on duty, he also 
granted a pension to the murdered man's family. 

But in addition to these precautions, there are three cor- 
vettes stationed in the gulf facing the grounds enclosing 
the Czar's cottage, armed with long-range rifle-guns, to 
guard against approaches by sea. No boat, however 
small, is permitted to land before the Emperor's grounds ; 
electric lights are kept burning all night on the corvettes, 
which flood the sea and shore with radience and enable 
the naval guard to detect any craft which might appear 
approaching the royal residence. 

Occasionally the Emperor visits his palace at Gatchi- 
na, twenty miles inland from Peterhoff, where equally 
strong measures for his protection are provided. When 
making the trip between these two places he is in dis- 
guise and never allows any intimation of his visit to be an- 
nounced beforehand. 


This isolation, through fear, is an invitation to danger, 
and serves to exalt 'Nihilism far beyond its own inherent 
strength. How great the contrast between Alexander 
III. and Nicholas I. is shown in the following historical 
incident. In 1854, when Russia was staggering under 
destructive defeats from the Allied Forces, a plague seized 
upon the people, so that they died in great numbers. 
Ignorant, superstitious and rebellious, a cry was raised 
by his subjects that Nicholas had ordered all the waters 
of Russia poisoned ; that he had colluded with the phy- 
sicians of his Empire to destroy his people because they 
grumbled at extravagances practiced in conducting the 
war. This senseless cry soon grew into a concerted plan 
for vengeance, which more than three thousand men as- 
sembled in Alexander Square to put into execution. The 
Emperor, who was in the Winter Palace, immediately 
comprehended the danger of his position, and with quick 
perception, seized upon the only possible plan that could 
save his life. 

The palace being surrounded escape was imposible, 
while there were no soldiers whom the Czar could sum- 
mon to his aid. Hastily putting on his Imperial helmet 
and regimentals he declared to the attendants his inten- 
tion of boldly facing the mob. All attempts to per- 
suade him from this purpose being unavailing, his aid-de- 
camp begged to be allowed the privilege of accompany- 
ing him, but this Nicholas refused, saying : " If my life 
is to be taken it would avail nothing to sacrifice yours 
also." With this he descended the stairway and alone 
marched out into the mob who, awed by his majestic 
manner, gave way and permitted him unmolested to gain 
the Alexander Column. Being now in the very center of 
his enemies, he mounted upon a block which stood be- 
side the column and in a stentorian voice shouted : " Chil- 


dren ! Dogs! Down upon your knees!" As though 
stricken by a stroke from heaven, that vast assemblage, 
who had before been howling for the Emperor's blood, 
dropped upon their knees with one accord and then 
shouted: "Brave Nicholas! we hail you Emperor of 
all Russia ; long live your Gracious Majesty !" 

This incident serves to show the mercurial disposition 
of all Russians. Brave themselves, nothing excites in 
them such admiration as an act of defiance when dan- 
ger threatens. 

A knowledge of Russian character leads directly to 
the belief- that if Alexander III. would assume a fearless 
attitude, by presenting himself before his people, like 
one under the segis of patriotic resolution, he would dis- 
pel the specter of assassination and be hailed as a sover- 
eign worthy the scepter he holds. But so sure as he 
continues to manifest fear, and cowers before an exag- 
gerated idea of his enemies, so sure will he be hurled from 
the throne by either a gigantic insurrectionary movement 
or fall a victim to some fanatic now plotting his destruc- 
tion. No measures of protection, however rigid, can 
save him, for assassins will spring up in his most secret 
chamber, among those most implicity trusted, or reach 
him through tunnels, which desperate Nihilists never tire 
of digging. This is even now his dread, for before com- 
ing to the throne he had his chin shaved every morning, 
but since then no razor has touched his face ; not a mouth- 
ful of food or wine is taken by him now until all the 
dishes set before him are tasted by his butler ; the room 
in which he sleeps is secured by two immense iron doors, 
while the windows are provided with heavy bars, so that 
household enemies may not steal upon him at night. 
The humblest peasant in all Russia would not exchange 
places with this unhappy autocrat, whose crown weighs 
upon him like a besom of death. 



THE cessation of crime which followed the assassination 
of Alexander II. inspired the law and order class of Russia 
with the hope that Nihilism had spent its force and would 
permit the results of that desperate work to determine 
their purposes. But this hope was soon dispelled, for in 
the succeeding fall fresh outrages were reported, which 
were followed by a more retributive or vindictive policy of 
police surveillance. About the same time there came re- 
ports of the most brutal attacks being made upon Jewish 
merchants in several districts of lower Russia, a descrip- 
tion of which will be given hereafter. 

Among the more harassing difficulties with which the 
Government had to deal were the secret printing offices. 
These breeders of sedition appeared in every large city, 
and their products were scattered through every hamlet 
in the nation. When one office was discovered and de- 
stroyed another quickly took its place, so that suppres- 
sion has rather worked against the Government. Many 
of these offices became the scene of bloody conflicts be- 
tween the Nihilists and police, in which not a few women 
took active part, displaying a desperate bravery rarely 
exhibited by the sex. In fact there has been a heroism 
manifested by female Nihilists surpassed by no incidents 
of individual fearlessness in all history. 

Vera Zassulitch, whose shot inaugurated terrorism, 
was the most modest of her sex. In the court room she 
blushed when she perceived any one staring at her. 
Eugenia Figner, a charming lady and an accomplished 
singer, got her eight years in the Siberian mines by sit- 
ting in a parlor playing the piano for weary hours, try- 
ing to drown the noise made by the secret printing-press 



in the adjoining room. Anna Lebedeff, a priest's 
daughter, in the disguse of the wife of a switchman, 




lived in a watch-house on the railroad, and was found on 
a box filled with dynamite, chatting with the switchman. 
Sophie Perof skaja, the daughter of a general and senator, 


who declined the dignity of maid of honor to the Em- 
press and entered the Nihilist fraternity, dug the Mos- 
cow mine and directed the late Czar's assassination. 
Sophie Bardin, who was welcomed as a shining star in the 
literary horizon, wrote a few poems which, though gems 
of Kussian literature, were treasonable, and the singing 
of them is a State crime. 

The Soobotin and Lubatovitch sisters were ladies of 
many accomplishments and noted also for their beauty 
and purity, yet they stimulated their male colaborers by 
many acts of cunning and recklessness. The two former 
acted as spies, and actually secured from a leading offi- 
cer all the immediate plans of Gen. Ignatieff for over- 
coming Nihilism, besides finding put, through a different 
source, the persons in their party against whom the Gov- 
ernment had suspicions. The two latter distributed 
incendiary literature not only throughout Moscow and St. 
Petersburg, but in the very offices of the police authori- 
ties. Helene Eossikoff planned the robbery of the treas- 
ury at Cherson, from the vaults of which were taken 
1,500,000 roubles ($750,000) for Nihilistic purposes. 
Mary Griasnova incited three of her comrades, who were 
detected conducting a revolutionary organ, to defend 
their property against an attack made upon them by 
nearly twenty policemen. In this fight she killed two 
officers and wounded three others, though she was herself 
seriously shot and had to fire from a prostrate position. 
When her companions surrendered she reviled them as 
cowards, and nothing silenced her but death, which came 
after a lingering agony of three days. M'lles Torporkoff , 
Hamkrclidze, Khorjevski, Ivanova, and many other 
women have signally distinguished themselves among the 
Nihilists as leaders of great power, while their examples 
have all served to infuse their confreres with determina- 



tion to dare and do without regard for the results which 
their desperate acts might entail. 

On the 28th of February, 1882, the scene of serious 

disturbance was transferred from St. Petersburg to 
Odessa, where General Strelnikoff, the Public Prosecutor 
at the Kieff Military Tribunal, who distinguished himself 
in various Nihilist trials, was shot in broad daylight on 


the Boulevard in that city. Three men were concerned 
in the murder; two were captured, but the third es- 
caped. The Czar was so angered at the news that he at 
first ordered the prisoners to be executed within twenty- 
four hours, but afterward changed his mind and decided 
that they should be tried in due form. Accordingly they 
were tried and sentenced to death on Saturday, March 
llth. The funeral of General Strelnikoff took place on 
Sunday morning, March 5th, with full military honors. 
Curiously enough, this crime happened within a few 
hours after the commutation by the Czar of the sentence of 
death passed on the prisoners in the Trigonia trial. One 
man alone, Soukahnoff, was excepted, owing to his being 
a lieutenant in the navy. He, however, was spared the 
disgrace of dying at the hands of the hangman, but was 
taken to Cronstadt and shot by a detachment of marines. 

It is the custom observed by all of Russia's former 
Emperors to repair to Moscow six months after assuming 
the title of Czar, and there, in the Royal Chapel, be 
crowned according to ceremonies prescribed by the Greek 
Church, for it must be understood that in tradition, 
though not in fact, the Church is more potential than the 
Czar. These ceremonies are magnificent beyond descrip- 
tion and are participated in by every one who can crowd 
into the city. They are invariably followed by a season 
of festivities which frequently last for thirty days. 

Owing to apprehensions of an attack being made upon 
his person if exposed, Alexander III. still wears the 
crown which he placed upon his own head the day of his 
father's death. Several notices were semi-officially given 
at various times to the effect that the coronation services 
would occur at Moscow, and during my visit to that city, 
in August, 1882, great preparations were being made for 
the positively promised event. The Royal Chapel, which 


is used upon no other occasion, was being sumptuously 
decorated, and three hundred Court waiters had just been 
sent down from St. Petersburg, whose services were ex- 
pected to be required at the Imperial feast, which was to 
follow the coronation. In addition to these preparations, 
made on so grand a scale, the Great Votive church was 
thrown open for public inspection upon the presentation 
of permits issued only by the City Metropolitan. This 
church is used only once during each Czar's reign, these 
occasions being the day following the coronation, when 
the Emperor and Empress repair to its sanctuary for 
blessings of the Church, and where they also listen to a 
sermon prepared specially for their benefit. This sacred 
edifice stands upon an elevation commanding a fine view 
of the city, and is an object of veneration to all Muscov- 
ites. With the exception of the Winter Palace there is, 
perhaps, no building in all Russia that can compare with 
it in magnificence. It is built of marble taken from the 
Finland and Siberian quarries, and polished until all its 
walls, floors and pilasters reflect images like a looking- 
glass ; the dome is covered with gold, and there are many 
gold and silver candelabras and icons, while in the inte- 
rior of the dome is a painting of the Trinity involving a 
marvellous conception. The principal figure measures 
thirty feet between the out-stretched hands, though the 
altitude is so great that it appears almost the natural size 
of a man. There are two chairs reserved for the Em- 
peror and Empress, which are stationary, fronting the 
chancel, that for both beauty and value exceed the throne 
chair in St. George's room of the Winter Palace. They 
are made of ivory-colored marble, most exquisitely en- 
chased with gold flower work, while the seats and cush- 
ioned backs are covered with gold plates studded with 
precious stones forming the national coat of arms. 




Every day, for more than a month, the people ex- 
pected to receive definite announcement of the Emperor's 
coming, until the shocking news was received instead 
that a dynamite mine had been discovered beneath the 
Eoyal Chapel. This fact immediately dissipated further 
expectation, and it was then predicted that the coronation 
would not take place before the following year. No an- 
nouncement, however, was made by the Government, and 
preparations continued to be made. During all this time 
Count Tolstoi was in communication with the Nihilists, 
who promised to guarantee the safety of the Emperor at 
the coronation services if he would, previous to the oc- 
currence, publish his annual manifesto granting liberty to 
certain of their compatriots then in exile or held in the 
Fortress prison. 

Suddenly, without any notice whatsoever, the Czar ap- 
peared in Moscow. Before leaving St. Petersburg he 
had ordered every one off the streets by 12 M., on the 
night of September 15th. No one understood why such 
an order was given until the next day, when it was learned 
that the Emperor had departed by special train at one 
o'clock, A. M., for Moscow. He also took the precaution 
to line the rail route with thirty thousand troops, string- 
ing them out so that the men were formed eighty feet 
apart extending all the way between the two cities, and a 
pilot engine was run half-a-mile ahead of the Imperial train 
to report any obstructions which might appear. Thus 
the Czar made his first trip to the "Holy Mother" (a 
title long since given to Moscow by devout Muscovites), 
but it was not for coronation purposes, as many at 
first supposed. He visited the great exposition then 
being held, also the Imperial Palace in the Kremlin, 
but there was a large cordon of soldiers surround- 
ing him wherever he went, besides a special guard' with 




bayonets at a " present.'' After spending four days in 
Moscow, and giving notice that he would remain one 
week longer, so as to continue the impression that the 
coronation would take place, he mysteriously disappeared 
again and turned up at St. Petersburg/ It was two days 
after his departure before the people learned positively 
that their Emperor was not in Moscow, or credited the 
report that the coronation had been postponed. 

The fear which possesses Alexander III. has caused 
a renewal of the agitation first begun during the 
reign of Catharine II., for a removal of the Imperial 
Court from St. Petersburg to Moscow, where it remained 
established once for nearly five hundred years. It is 
claimed that St. Petersburg is not a representative Russian 
city, being too cosmopolitan in population, and Euro- 
pean in architecture ; that it is for these reasons the Nihil- 
ists make their headquarters there, so that their commu- 
nications with foreign emissaries may be more direct. 
Moscow, on the other hand, is intensely Asiatic in all its 
characteristics and particularly loyal to the Greek Church. 
This fact is outwardly indicated by the first sights which 
strike the visitor upon entering the city, for rising up to 
immense height, like a beautiful mirage, are hundreds of 
glittering domes, surmounted by golden crosses, while 
others counterfeit the blue canopy of heaven. There are 
no less than four hundred and sixty-six churches, sixty- 
two monasteries, and over two hundred chapels in Mos- 
cow, all of which are sustained in a style of magnificence 
found nowhere else in the world. These princely edi- 
fices, and the pious reverence of her population, have 
caused Moscow to be culled the "Holy City," and so 
sacred is she regarded that every year long pilgrimages 
are made by Russian peasant women to pay their devo- 
tions and pray before her holy shrines. In this respect 



Moscow is to Russians what Mecca is to the Mohamme- 
dan world. 

It is not a matter for surprise therefore that there is 
such general desire among the people for the Emperor's 
removal from European influences, and his complete coa- 
lescence with Russian style and ideas as taught by the 
great Vladimir. Indeed, there is a large party in Russia 
that delighted if there were a wall around the 
Empire large enough to forever keep out everything 

In the foregoing history of Nihilism I make no pre- 
tense of presenting a complete description of all the out- 
rages perpetrated by this bloody organization, but have 
rather sought, by presenting the more important acts and 
crimes of the association, to indicate its strength, coher- 
ency and purpose (if it may be said Nihilism has any 
clearly defined purpose). Anarchists are not generally 
known to consider cause and effect, but like violent ma- 
niacs, strike in obedience to a distracted mind, having the 
one desire to kill, ruin or subvert. Nihilism has now 
grown so strong that no one can compute its power ; no one 
can judge of Russia's future, but all may well prophesy, 
by the clouds which lower so bodingly over the nation, 
that there is a Nemesis ready to dash out of the elements, 
with fire and sword, at the Empire's heart. 



IN the preparation of this work on Nihilism I found 
many difficulties obtruding upon me from the beginning, 
which it was wholly impossible to remove or reconcile ; 
these annoyances arose from the extremities of two irrec- 
oncilable parties whose sympathies seek favor from all 
who investigate the insurrectionary causes so seriously 
disturbing Eussia. Having been admitted to Govern- 
ment circles in St. Petersburg, I was sought to be the 
medium through which the Government might justify its 
repressive measures and demonstrate the wisdom of its 
laws ; so speciously did one officer of the Ministry pre- 
sent to me the causes and inordinate assumptions of 
Nihilism that, I must confess, he disposed me favorably 
to his conclusions, which might have influenced me 
throughout, in my investigations, but for a later contact 
with liberals and terrorists. Through an introduction, 
which it would not be just to explain, I was received con- 
fidentially by several leaders in the revolutionary move- 
ment, who presented to me their grievances and demo- 
cratic needs in so forcible, if not convincing a manner, as 
to materially change the opinions incited in me by 
the Minister. I therefore found that in any event my 
work must meet with much disfavor in Russia, if not 
subject me to the suspicion of preconceived preju- 
dices. This I am very anxious to avoid, and that 
there may be no real ground for such a charge, in 
addition to recording my own observations and results 
of an honest investigation of Nihilism, I herewith pre- 
sent an ably written syllabus of the leading State trials 
of political offenders that have taken place in Russia dur- 
ing the past five years. The author of this most inter- 


esting chapter is a distinguished Russian lady, a resident 
of St. Petersburg, and one whose liberal ideas recom- 
mend her opinions to all thinking people. She belongs 
to the Liberal Party, but prefers that her name should 
not be disclosed, for reasons which will readily appear to 
any one who has read the preceding chapters on Russian 
Nihilism : 

Of all countries in the world, Russia can of late years 
claim the sad distinction of having produced in greatest 
numbers the abnormal growths of a deeply convulsed 
intellectual soil. The well known " Nihilists" (christ- 
ened by Tourguenieff for all eternity), the boisterous, 
pugnacious, ranting, yet talented and comparatively harm- 
less boys of twenty and thirty years ago, have been suc- 
ceeded by another and far more dangerous generation 
boys also, most of them, but who have developed the 
quiet, dogged resolution; the merciless, unswerving se- 
quence of thought and act, the unreasoning self-sacrifice 
which lies at the core of the Russian nature when power- 
fully aroused. The earlier ones contented themselves 
with general fault-finding (in many cases with but too 
much reason), with noisy denunciations of everything 
and everybody, from existing social principles to poetry 
and ladies' fancy-work, with sweeping and often ludi- 
crously absurd negations of all that is not positive science 
or material improvement. Not so the latter, the so- 
called " socialists " for that name begins very generally 
to supersede the old one. Their predecessors' much-aired 
grievances, instead of evaporating in more or less violent 
talk, have with them settled into a dark purpose, which 
they pursue literally to the death to their own death 
most frequently, sometimes also to that of their selected 
victims. They take the risk and pay the forfeit man- 
fully, stubbornly. The many criminal State-trials of the 


last five years have amply shown that Russia has been 
visited by a virulent paroxysm of that form of political 
aberration which made so great a patriot and so pure a 
man as Mazzini an advocate of political murder, and 
armed the gentle hand of the romantic, tender-souled 
boy Sand with the assassin's dagger. On the 16th of 
November, 1880, the execution of two important leaders 
of the deadly secret organization called "the terroriz- 
ing fraction" atoned for the long series of murderous 
attempts against the Emperor's person which followed 
the assassination of Prince Krapotkin in February, 1879. 

The trial which preceded, conducted before the St. 
Petersburg Military Court, was on so unusually large a 
scale, involved so many points and persons, and resulted 
in such vast and important revelations, that an account 
of the judicial proceedings on this momentous occasion 
may prove not uninteresting to American readers, and 
may shed light on some of the questions concerning which 
the intelligent curiosity of the cultivated public of this 
country (Russia) has long been awakened. 

On the 6th of November sixteen persons were brought 
to trial for heavy political offenses before the St. Peters- 
burg Military Court. Great and unusual precautions had 
been taken to insure an undisturbed course to the judicial 
proceedings. The general public were not admitted ; tick- 
ets were distributed ; and it was noticed by an eye-witness 
that although the audience was so numerous as to fill the 
hall, it was composed of persons wearing the military or 
civil uniform, there being present only four persons in the 
ordinary garb of private gentlemen . Altho ugh the report- 
ers of the press were admitted, the several dailies and 
weeklies had been notified to abstain from publishing their 
own reports from shorthand notes as is usual in such cases, 
and to limit themselves to copying the full-length report 


which would appear in a series of numbers of the daily 
" Government Gazette." The sixteen prisoners entered 
the court escorted each by two gensdarmes, and took 
their places in a calm and dignified manner. In spite of 
great differences in their social rank, education, even 
race and religion, one characteristic feature was common 
to all they were very young; all, with one exception, 
under thirty, one-half under twenty-five. There were 
three women in the number girls of twenty-one, twen- 
ty-two, and twenty-three years of age. The single 
exception was one Mr. Drigo, aged thirty-one, a land- 
holder and business man of good standing, who was 
merely an accessory to the revolutionary party with 
regard to certain money matters. From the personal 
facts and antecedents concerning the prisoners, given in 
curt and dry phrase by the Act of Accusation, it appears 
that of the thirteen men one was a Catholic, of Polish 
family settled in Little Russia, and two were Israelites ; 
that two never received any education at all, and seven 
did not complete their education, but left the University, 
or the Technological Institute, or Teachers' Seminary, or 
other schools or colleges, in the first, second, or third 
year of the course. Alexander Kviatkovsky , aged twenty- 
seven, the most prominent among the prisoners, was one 
of these ; but he must have been endowed with great nat- 
ural parts and moral powers. From the first moment the 
general attention was centered on him,' and his personal 
appearance is thus described by the correspondent of the 
Augusburger Zeitung : ' ( Kviatkovsky has a very intel- 
ligent face ; long dark-blonde hair and a full beard 
frame a set of features expressive of great energy and 
power of will. He both bears himself and speaks well 
and with ease." He immediately and naturally assumed 
the attitude of a leader among his companions a post- 


tion which they all seemed tacitly to acknowledge, as 
though from long and habitual deference, and to which 
he was fully entitled, as proven by disclosures at the 
trial. It was remarked that although he appeared to 
have surrendered himself from the first, and with the 
utmost philosophy, to a fate against which he knew that 
not the ablest defence could prevail, he was unremittingly 
anxious to shield his followers, and never missed an op- 
portunity of taking the whole blame upon himself and 
exonerating them from this or that charge, on the ground 
of having been used by him as blind tools, and kept in 
ignorance of his purposes. 

The first day of the trial was almost entirely consumed 
by the reading of the Act of Accusation. That this docu- 
ment should have grown to so unusual a bulk is not to 
be wondered at, since it covered a space of two years, 
and contained a detailed relation of all the criminal acts 
perpetrated in that interval by members of the ultra- 
socialistic party, in which all prisoners then present at 
the bar had directly and personally participated. The 
Act was divided under ten different heads, comprising 
the following offences : Participation in the murder of 
Prince Krapotkin, the Governor of Kharkoff, in Febru- 
ary, 1879 ; in Solovieff's attempt on the Emperor's life 
in April of the same year ; in the socialistic-revolution- 
ary convention which took place at Lipetsk in the follow- 
ing June, and at which the subsequent attempts were 
planned, it being at the same time resolved to use dyna- 
mite instead of ordinary weapons ; in the ensuing three- 
fold murderous attempt in November, 1879, by means of 
dynamite mines laid under railway tracks at three different 
places, of which one proved useless as his Majesty changed 
his route at the last moment, another took no effect from 
unknown causes, probably unskilful management, and the 


third did by its explosion cause the destruction of the 
Imperial train, but did not endanger the Emperor's per- 
son, owing to his having passed the spot a few moments 
before in an ordinary train ; in the laying of a powerful 
dynamite mine under one of the apartments in the Win- 
ter Palace, resulting in the terrible explosion of the 17th 
of February, 1880, which caused the loss of eleven lives, 
and more or less severely injured fifty-six persons. Fur- 
thermore, several of the prisoners were accused of organ- 
izing and entertaining an active secret press in the capi- 
tal, for the purpose of printing and spreading abroad 
revolutionary proclamations, flying numbers of seditious 
and terroristic papers, as also of forging passports and 
other documents ; the same prisoners being moreover ac- 
cused of having offered armed resistance to the police, 
who surprised them in their hiding-place with the press 
in full activity. The prisoner Presniakoff was charged 
besides with having fired at two persons who aided a dis- 
guised policeman in arresting him on one of -the public 
streets, wounding both and causing the death of one. 
Lastly, all the prisoners were "accused of belonging to 
the secret society of the socialistic-revolutionary party, 
whose object is, by sedition and violence, to subvert the 
State institutions and social order, and which has mani- 
fested its existence by a long series of the heaviest politi- 
cal offences." They were also all charged, with three 
exceptions, with having lived under numerous assumed 
names, supporting their aliases by forged passports and 
other documents ; while the prisoner Drigo was accused 
of having supplied the socialistic-revolutionary party with 
the funds necessary for carrying out their very expensive 
undertakings and machinations. 

The question of funds is one which has considerably 
puzzled public curiosity. People cannot carry on costly 


mining-works in different parts of the country and secret 
publishing on a large scale, travel at the shortest notice 
from end to end of so vast an empire, hire and buy 
houses to conspire and work in, and maintain a large 
number of subaltern agents, mostly needy young men, 
who in devoting their time and energies to "the work" 
give up their only chance of earning even a precarious 
livelihood, people cannot do all this without spending 
large sums of money ; and where does the money come 
from ? for it is a curious but well-established fact, that 
men as a rule are more lavish of their lives than of their 
purses. The accusation against Mr. Drigo answers this 
question very fully and very strikingly ; and as he 
pleaded guilty, with only a distinction of degree in the 
offense, and his case, therefore, presented no difficulty or 
complication, it may as well be disposed of now, at this 
early stage of the proceedings. 

Though there may have been small contributions for 
revolutionary purposes from the less needy members of 
the party, it is now proved that the great bulk of the ex- 
pended funds were derived from the private fortune of 
Demitri Lizogoub, a prominent leader executed in 
August, 1879. This gentleman, judging from no other 
data but those supplied by the Act of Accusation, the 
speech of the counsel for the Crown, and the few simple 
remarks offered by Drigo in his own defence, appears to 
have been by no means an ordinary character. Having 
early come into an inheritance consisting of landed prop- 
erty to the amount of something over one hundred and 
eighty-seven thousand roubles (exactly half of that sum 
in dollars, at the present low rate of exchange), as was 
testified by his brothers at his trial, he immediately be- 
gan quietly to. turn every acre into money, which he con- 
sistently applied to the uses of " the party," limiting hiat 


personal expenditure to the trifling sum of five hundred 
roubles a year. He evidently looked on his wealth as a 
sacred deposit, of which he was but the steward, in con- 
science bound to husband it for the furtherance of " the 
good cause," allotting to himself only the merest pit- 
tance necessary for actually supporting life. So thor- 
oughly did he carry out his sternly-planned self-denial, 
that at the time of his death barely thirty thousand 
roubles could be found of his considerable patrimony. 
Eepeatedly implicated in political machinations, and once 
already placed under temporary arrest, Lizogoub found 
it unsafe to remit the required sums directly and in his 
own person to the respective agents, as also to attend 
himself to the final liquidation of his still remaining es- 
tates, a measure which became doubly urgent after he 
was again and definitely arrested in 1878. Some time 
before this event, he had placed his entire fortune, by 
means of full powers of attorney, in the hands of his 
neighbor and early friend, Vladimir Drigo, and used to 
give him private directions as to the payment of more or 
less considerable sums, from one hundred roubles to one 
thousand and upward, and at different times to sundry 
individuals who proved to be revolutionary agents of the 
deepest dye. Even from his prison in Odessa Lizogoub 
managed, by contrivances which have not been found out 
to this day, and which seem to imply connivance from 
quarters where such would least be looked for, to keep 
up an active correspondence in short notes with his po- 
litical friends and Drigo, who continued to carry out his 
orders with respect to further payments out of his prop- 
erty. One of these notes, bearing the postscript, pathetic 
in its simplicity, " / trust you," came into the hands of 
justice, and was shown to Lizogoub' s two brothers, who 
recognized it as being in their brother Demitri's hand- 


Writing. Drigo meanwhile, urged by his friendship for 
the prisoner, worked hard and anxiously to accomplish 
the final liquidation, partly by effecting sales in his own 
name, partly by transferring large sums into his own 
hands and those of other trusty friends, as the only way 
of securing means of existence to Lizogoub in the future, 
no more tragical issue of his trial being at first antici- 
pated than a rigorous banishment. But a judicial sen- 
tence is usually accompanied by degradation ; that is to 
say, the condemned person is stripped of his rank and all 
civil rights and privileges thereto pertaining, and dis- 
abled from holding property, which, if he is in possession 
of any, is either confiscated to the Crown or passes to his 
heirs as though he were dead, as the sentence may be. 
The most ordinary mode of eluding this severe clause, 
which would leave a condemned prisoner penniless, is by 
fictitious mortgages and bills, the friendly holders of 
which foreclose at a given moment,, and thus rescue the 
prisoner's real estate or movables from the law, and 
either apply the income to his needs, or, by liquidation, 
secure for him a capital. This operation Drigo was anx- 
ious to accomplish in Lizogoub' s behalf, but the fatal ter- 
mination of his friend's career rendered further efforts 
unnecessary ; and, besides, not much of the fortune was 
left, as has been seen. From the moment of Lizogoub's 
death, Drigo' s connection with "the party" entirely 
ceased, and none of its members received from him any 
more pecuniary assistance. The latter fact was duly no- 
ticed in the Act of Accusation as an extenuating circum- 
stance. He was only charged with having supplied cer- 
tain persons with funds, not his own indeed, but which 
he knew would be used for illegal purposes. The case 
against him was very fairly stated thus: " The person 
who gave the 11101103^ might be ignorant of the meditated 


crimes for* the perpetration of which it was raised, but it 
could hot be unknown to him that the supplies which 
passed through his hands were destined for revolutionary 
purposes." Drigo did not deny the fact of having paid 
sums of money to sundry persons, strangers to him, by 
Lizogoub's order ; but pleaded that, placed as he was, he 
could not act differently ; nor did he admit having any 
knowledge whatever of their illegal character. He abso- 
lutely denied ever having belonged to the revolutionary 
party himself, a denial borne out by his antecedents, 
which showed him to have been a model landlord, looked 
up to by all his neighbors, and never implicated in any 
political troubles before he consented to take on himself 
the full management of Lizogoub's property. " I was 
guided in my actions solely by my friendship to Lizo- 
goub ; and if friendship constitutes a political offense, in 
that case I must plead guilty." With these simple words 
he closed his brief defence. The sentence passed against 
Drigo was, in consideration of his exceptional position 
and honorable character, as mild as could be expected, 
degradation and simple banishment to the Government of 
Tomsk, in Western Siberia. 

When, after the Act of Accusation had been read, 
the prisoners were asked in the usual form whether they 
pleaded guilty or not guilty, they did not attempt una- 
vailing denial ; all, with one exception, pleaded guilty in 
the main, but with certain qualifications and more or less 
nice distinctions as to details, shadings of opinion or in- 
tention. Some, while avowing that they belonged to the 
socialistic-revolutionary party, denied all connection with 
that fraction of it which advocated terrorization. One 
said : " I admit that I am a socialist, but I am not a rev- 
olutionist." Kviatkovsky and one other allowed that they 
had taken part in the socialistic convention at Lipetsk, 


but would not concede that the ensuing attempts gainst the 
Czar's person had been there resolved upon, except the- 
oretically and conditionally : "Should certain contingencies 
take place, it was to be done ; should they not, it might be 
left undone." " It was decided," explained his compan- 
ion, "to repeat the attempts, should the Government per- 
sist in the line of conduct it' had pursued towards the 
* party' and the people. But the Convention did not 
discuss the questions as to how it was to be done, by 
whom, and under what circumstances; so there was no 
talk of mining and dynamite." 

At the preliminary examinations the prisoners had 
made confessions even more ample than they appeared 
willing to indorse before the court. They may have been 
advised by their counsel not to criminate themselves un- 
warily, nor to make unnecessary admissions. Still, on 
the whole, denial was certainly not the line of defence 
which they adopted. Among the witnesses who would 
be summoned to confront them they knew that one was to 
be brought forward whose deposition would be evidence 
most damning and conclusive against them a witness 
from the dead as it were, and one of their own number. 
Goldenberg, an Israelite aged twenty-four, the mur- 
derer of Prince Krapotkin, did not take his place on the 
prisoners' benches with his sixteen companions, being 
shortly reported in the Act of Accusation to "have 
died in the fortress, on the 29th of July, 1880." His 
act and his fate are not the least striking feature of 
this extraordinary trial. He wrote and signed a relation, 
most full and elaborate, not only of his own doings in the 
service of the revolutionary party, but of all those of his 
fellow-conspirators in which he had borne a part, or of 
which he had a knowledge ; he laid bare all that was 
known to him of the secret central organization called 


" the directing and the executive committees;" he left 
out no detail, no name. Then he committed suicide! 
Were it not for this last circumstance he would stand 
branded as the blackest of traitors, and we should be 
disposed to yield but scanty credence or sympathy to the 
long preface in which he expounds his motives and aims, 
even though it contains much weighty reasoning, much 
deep, apparently genuine feeling awakened by the sor- 
rowful retrospect and gloomy anticipations natural to a 
spirit sobered by long confinement. As it is, we may at 
least suspend our judgment, give the unfortunate youth 
credit for sincerity, and wish that the sad reflections 
wrung from him by suffering and despondency should 
gain ground among his former associates, who would 
possibly cease from their murderous machinations with 
very weariness, if they could but once become convinced 
that by persisting in them they only disgrace and undo 
the cause which they seek to uphold. 

Goldenberg begins by professing himself a member 
not only of the socialistic-revolutionary party, but of 
that fraction of the same which under the denomination 
of " disorganizes " or " terrorists " has undertaken to 
subvert the whole now .subsisting order of things, and to 
compel the Government, by sheer force of intimidation, 
to desist from its entire political course, and especially 
the repressive measures which it has long pursued against 
such of the association as fell into its hands. " I am an 
advocate of political murders," he adds, "in so far as 
they are substitutes for free speech, as they undermine 
the public confidence in the government and its organi- 
zation, and as a given agent of the government has 
deserved his doom that is, in so far as he is obnoxious 
to the socialistic party." Then, after touching shortly 
on the grounds which made him proclaim himself the 
assassin of Prince Krapotkin, he goes on : 


" A long interval of time has elapsed since then Solitary con- 
finement, like every evil thing in the world, has its good side, which consists 
in enabling a man to think, and think freely, unhindered and unswayed by the 
course of events. I have done so, and found that after traveling so arduous 
and bloody a road nothing is done anywhere, not among the people, not 
among society, not among the youth of the land, and that the struggle still 
continues a most wearing struggle : men perish, and perish without end, in 
dungeons, in Eastern Siberia, lastly on gibbets. I especially centered my 
thoughts on the proceedings of the terrorists, and came to the conclusion that 
they had entered on a mistaken course ; that while they strive with their 
whole souls, with all their might, for the most natural and undoubted human 
right that of political liberty they have not chosen the right means to 
attain it. I found that political murders not only had not brought us nearer 
to that better state of things for which we all long, but had on the contrary 
made it incumbent on the Government to take extreme measures against us ; 
that it is owing to that same theory of political murder we have had the mis- 
fortune of seeing twenty gibbets raised in our midst, and that to it we are 
indebted for the dreadful reaction which lies with crushing weight on all 
alike. I reflected that the socialists ought to have known and remembered 
that the Government is able to put forth the same means, but with an amount 
of might which must destroy all that crosses its path. . . . Such were 
some of the cheerless conclusions to which I came after much thinking. Of 
course, I might have persisted in my former convictions. I might have gone 
on leading men to death, and have calmly died myself on the gibbet, had I 
known that I should be the final expiatory victim, that my death would close 
this sad and horrible period of our social development. But the thought that 
my death-sentence would not be the last, that more would follow and inevi- 
tably call forth new reprisals, which in their turn would be visited on the party 
by still severer measures, and thus the number of the victims would go on in- 
creasing, until the Government would after all come out victor from the 
unequal conflict, from which it never can desist as long as the entire move 
ment is not put down this thought filled me with inexpressible dread. . . . 
I stand aghast at the certainty that persecution must at last overcome, sup- 
press for a long time, the general active stir so healthful in itself in favor of 
political reform, and that we shall then bitterly regret having manifested our 
activity in so harsh a form as to drag to perdition numbers of unheeded vic- 

There is nothing in all this that the most earnest, 
upright lover of his country could not endorse ; no sound 
head, no feeling heart, but must deplore with the solitary, 
brooding prisoner the fatal excesses which he denounces, 
and wish that all his associates might come to the same 
tardy, dearly-bought insight. Can we refuse him our 


sympathy when he expresses a passionate desire "to put 
an end to all these evils, to assist in bringing about a 
speedy transition to another and better state of things, 
to save many from the death-sentence impending over 
them?" But when he tells us by what means he intends 
to achieve all this, we look at each other in puzzled be- 
wilderment : can he seriously think he will save his 
friends by turning informer against them? Does he 
blind himself to the ugly word by the pompous phrase- 
ology in which he clothes it? 

" I have nerved myself to a most dire and terrible act; I have resolved to 
employ a remedy which makes my veins throb painfully, and my eyes over- 
flow with burning tears. I have resolved to repress within myself all feeling 
of either enmity or affection, and to perform another great act of self-denial 
for the good of our young men, of our society, of our beloved Russia. I have 
resolved to lay open the entire organization, all that is known to me, as a 
preventive against the dreadful future which awaits us, against a whole series 
of executions and other repressive measures." 

It would certainly be a satisfaction to be quite sure that 
the converted terrorist meant well, and if he did commit 
suicide after completing his revelation there would be 
little doubt of his sincerity. Still, the connection be- 
tween the end which he proposes to himself and the 
means which he takes towards it is very difficult to estab- 
lish so much so that there have not been wanting scep- 
tics who entirely disbelieved in his death, and considered 
the report only as a clever mise en scene to avoid his per- 
sonal appearance in the witness-box and a possible reac- 
tion of feeling, 'or simply to shield him from the ven- 
geance of the betrayed. I have heard many persons says : 

" Goldenberg is fast becoming the hero of a cycle of legends. . . . Some 
believe he is not dead at all, but is only kept in concealment ; and that he 
suffered himself to be moved to a full confession by the promise of a very 
large sum of money and impunity. Many persons in the best circles share 
the belief that he is alive." 


Yet his suicide was formally announced in the Narod- 
naya Volia, the secret revolutionary organ. 

Meanwhile, and whatever be the true solution of this 
obscure and distressing point, Goldenberg's deposition, 
which occupies a great many newspaper columns, is one 
of the most extraordinary, the most thrilling documents 
which it is possible to read. Not the most exciting 
memoirs penned by a gifted hand in stirring times, not 
those of Cellini himself, can surpass in fascination this 
unadorned, unimpassioned narrative. We need only fol- 
low its consecutive statements, but slightly commented 
on or corrected in the subsequent answers of the prison- 
ers, the final speeches for the accusation or the defence, 
to see the whole strange drama enacted before our eyes, 
appalling in its very homeliness and in its utterly com- 
monplace details. The whole thing looks so familiar and 
at the same time so wildly unreal, that we are tempted to 
rub our eyes and ask, where are we? Are these things 
done in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century? Are 
these the men the boys whom we have sympathized 
with and soothed in their grievances, their aspirations, 
their alternations of despondency or exaltation? 

Here is a circle of young people, with nice, homelike 
names, gathered round a tea-table with its hissing samo- 
var a scene- which every Eussian woman has presided 
over a hundred times. The young men are mostly stu- 
dents of the universities of Kieff or Kharkoff ; the girls 
belong to the same class of unquiet spirits. They talk 
much and loudly, their animated gestures and excited 
faces show that they are discussing one of those burning 
questions du jour which in a certain circle turn every so- 
cial gathering into a pandemonium on a small scale, 
where through dense clouds of cheap cigarette-smoke 
eyes flash, arms are flourished, voices ring, sharply iso- 


lated or blended into a general din ; where there is every- 
body to speak and no one to listen. We all have assisted 
at some of these unparliamentary debates, where the 
newly-brewed thought revels in ungovernable fermenta- 
tion. But hark ! the theme is somewhat startling: it is 
a question of life or death which is being canvassed. 
Judgment is being passed on the governor, Prince Krap- 
otkin, whose brutal ill-treatment of the students both at 
their last mass-meeting, when a troop of Cossacks rode 
into the midst of them plying their nagaikas (horsewhips) 
right and left, and later in the prison to which many 
were summarily consigned calls for retaliation. And 
now a newly-arrived guest addresses the circle, ?,nd is 
listened to as one whose word claims authority. Golden- 
berg writes : 

" I wished to alleviate the lot of the prisoners, and also to take vengeance 
on Prince Krapotkin, as the cause of their sufferings. I came to the conclu- 
sion that the best means to compass both these ends would be to kill 
him, as a sure way to turn the attention of both Government and public to 
the fate of political prisoners in general. ... I did not at once declare 
my own determination to do the deed, but only expressed my opinion that 
such a measure ought to be taken against him an opinion to which all re- 
sponded approvingly. There was much discussion concerning the manner 
in which it should be done," so as more forcibly to influence the public. I 
and* two others (one a woman) were for an open act, but the majority were in 
favor of secret assassination. . . . The question was decided in this 
sense, much against my earnest wish." 

This was in the last days of December, 1878. From 
that time to the 21st of February following Golden berg, 
faithfully aided by a crowd of associates some of whom 
he knew only under their assumed names, since one and 
all they lived with forged or borrowed passports coolly 
prepared the execution of the decree. Not less than 
twenty persons are named as having in different ways as- 
sisted him. One of them, Goldenberg's inseparable 
attendant, entreated his friend to yield to him the honor 


of the execution ; ' k but I told him and Zoubkavsky that 
I would shoot the man who should interfere with me and 
kill the prince in my stead." This young zealot was 
Kobyliansky, one of "the sixteen," then not quite 
twenty. " The little Pole," as he was called with some 
degree of contemptuous pity, afterward boasted to f riends 
at a distance from Kharkoff that he was the murderer, 
but at the trial denied having even had any knowledge of 
the contemplated deed, and altogether was the only one 
of the party who bore himself in a way which showed 
him to be a poor feeble-minded creature. The two con- 
spirators dogged the Governor for weeks, and more than 
one opportunity was missed ; one day a fog made it too 
uncertain to fire, another day the distance was too great ; 
one evening they met him in the theatre, " but he was 
with his wife and daughter, and they did not wish to en- 
danger them." At length, on the 21st of February, as 
Prince Krapotkin was returning home alone between nine 
and ten at night, Goldenberg, who was pacing the side- 
walk before his house, ran up to the carriage, fired a 
well-aimed shot through the open window, and disap- 
peared in the darkness. Favored by the night and 
watched over by friends, he had no difficulty in escaping 
from the city. The death of the victim ensued only a 
week later. 

The scene changes to St. Petersburg. We find there 

O O 

Goldenberg, safe and undaunted, busily planning a more 
terrible sequel to his first successful crime, and sur- 
rounded by a numerous set of new acquaintances and as- 
sociates, of whom he distinctly states that he did not 
know the real name of one. "The little Pole" still 
hovers admiringly round him, with unabated ardor. But 
his most constant companion is a young man lately ar- 


rived from a distant province, with a deep-set purpose 
in his heart. The three frequently visited together a 
shooting-gallery, where the new-comer assiduously prac- 
tised his eye and hand. What his purpose was did not 
long remain a secret. At a meeting held with amazing 
recklessness, almost openly and within general hearing, 
at a much-frequented tavern in one of the most crowded 
streets, that purpose was declared and discussed. The 
question propounded was the expediency of a decisive at- 
tempt on the Czar's life, to be undertaken by a man of 
strong nerve and unswerving resolution. There was no 
lack of volunteers. Goldenberg coolly proposed him- 
self, on the ground that he had been tried and had noth- 
ing to lose, his life being already forfeited by reason of 
one murder. His offer was rejected on account of his 
Hebrew nationality and religion, for fear that so desper- 
ate a deed might throw too great an odium on his entire 
race, since Christian communities have ever been but too 
prone to hold it collectively responsible for offences com- 
mitted by individuals belonging to it. " The little Pole/' 
baffled in his ambition at Kharkoff , was anxious to obtain 
the far higher distinction of laying low so much more 
exalted a head. But he was set aside at once as entirely 
unfit for so responsible and terrible a mission. His being 
a Pole was judged a sufficient objection, since the conspir- 
ators did not wish the regicide to be attributed to national 
animosity. None but a Russian hand should be raised 
against the head of the Russian people, that the world, 
well aware how deeply the almost religious feeling of loy- 
alty is rooted in every Russian breast, might from the 
enormity of the deed judge of the magnitude of the pro- 
vocation and the deadliness of the resolve. These youth- 
ful enthusiasts seem to have approached this culminating 


act of their political creed with a certain degree of awe, 
somewhat in the spirit of Brutus : 

" Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers. . . . 


Caesar must bleed for it ! And, gentle friends, 
Let's kill him boldly, not wrathfully. ... 

This shall make 

Our purpose necessary and not envious, 
Which, so appearing to the common eyes, 
We shall be called purgers, not murderers." 

At last Solovieff, the new arrival, declared the debate 
useless, since he was determined to strike the blow him- 
self, whether empowered to it or not, having come from 
Saratoff for no other purpose. He added ihat this re- 
solve had originated in his mind independently of any in- 
stigation, and that he would yield the execution to no 
other person; that should "the party" decide to ad- 
journ or forego it, he would separate himself from them 
and act on his own responsibility. ' ' It was his idee fixe,' ' 
said Kviatkovsky , when questioned on the subject. Noth- 
ing now remained but to settle questions of preliminaries 
and details, of which the most urgent was to give secret 
warning to "the illegal parties" as they are expres- 
sively named from the fact of their living illegally under 
assumed names and with false papers to leave the city 
at once, so as to involve as few persons as possible in the 
coming catastrophe. Tt is well known that the meditated 
attempt was committed by Solovieff on the 14th of 
April ; that he failed, and paid for his fanaticism with 
his life. 

But by far the most thrilling pages in Goldenberg's 
narrative are those in which he describes, with the life- 
like vividness of an eyewitness, the mining of the rail- 
way track on the outskirts of Moscow, which ended in 
the explosion of the 1st of December. At the convention 


held by the leaders of the socialistic party at Lipetsk in 
the preceding June, and whose doings and resolutions de- 
serve a separate paragraph, the regicide question had 
been amply discussed. It was settled in the affirmative. 
Whether only " theoretically and conditionally" or in a 
definite form, as to time and place, ways and means, is 
of no material importance. Enough that very soon after 
the convention separated, several of its most prominent 
members, with a dogged stubbornness of purpose and an 
almost incredible recklessness of danger and detection, 
set to work to carry out the very elaborate preparations 
for a great final and, as they confidently imagined, uner- 
ring coup. The revolver was discarded for a surer and 
even more deadly agent dynamite. A sufficient quan- 
tity three pouds, about one hundred and twenty pounds 
was secretly manufactured in St. Petersburg and sent 
off to Moscow under the care of two passengers who took 
it as a favor with their own luggage, never suspecting 
that the box labelled " Crockery" contained anything 
else, and on arriving in Moscow left it, as directed, in the 
luggage-room " till called for " by the person to whom 
they had been requested to hand over the check. Three 
pouds more were taken to Kharkoff by two of the con- 
spirators, who carried it simply in their trunk. This 
trunk they kept for some time at their hotel, then had it 
conveyed first to the lodgings of a student, and lastly to 
those of a lady friend, both of whom belonged to " the 
party," yet were not informed of the contents of the 
trunk, part of which was afterward carried as ignorantly 
by a third person to Odessa, and there safely received. 
That no accident should ever have happened in all these 
peregrinations seems almost miraculous. But the manu- 
facturing and transporting of dynamite was the least part 
of the undertaking. Much the most difficult task was 


the long and wearisome mining process, the difficulty 
being greatly increased by the inexperience of the labor- 
ers, the scarcity and imperfection of the tools, and the 
necessity of submitting to countless discomforts in order 
to preserve the silence and outward tranquillity indispen- 
sable to avoid a detection always imminent at the best. 
Nor would it have been possible to achieve even the pre- 
liminaries without the assistance of the female associates, 
an assistance which was rendered with unremitting cheer- 
fulness, unflagging presence of mind, and absolute self- 
devotion. Goldenberg shared for a time the exciting 
life and labors of his Moscow friends. And if, as is 
averred, some of them had been drawn into the current 
of sedition and conspiracy mainly by a certain adventur- 
ous restlessness of spirit, a craving for release from the 
tame routine of modern life ; surely they must have 
been amply satisfied. Such a state of constant alarm, 
perpetual watchfulness, hair-breadth escapes, familiarity 
with peril even to the blunting of the keen -edged sense 
of danger, is just w r hat we look for in one of Cooper's 
Indian stones or a Highland tale, but is infinitely startling 
in the midst of a modern, orderly, civilized community. 
Thoroughly and cunningly had the enterprise been 
devised to the smallest details. A house situated in close 
vicinity to the track had been purchased under the name 
of one of the conspirators assumed of course who settled 
in it with one of the young women who shared the secret 
and gave herself out as his wife, and a few companions, 
male and female. Several more took possession of fur- 
nished lodgings hired in the city itself by another such 
fictitious couple, who used to come over for the day. The 
house was too small to accommodate permanently so 
many inmates. Besides, it was deemed advisable not 
to affront the wondering gossip of a prying neighbor- 


hood, which would infallibly have been started on the 
right scent by such an overcrowding of narrow quarters. 
The city-lodgings, moreover, were to facilitate communi- 
cations, and, in case of need, to favor concealment and 
flight. The direction of the work was entrusted to the 
nominal owner of the house, known under the nickname 
of " the Alchemist." A subterranean gallery had to be 
conducted to the track, passing under the embankment. 
One or more openings were to be bored through the 
track itself, and iron pipes containing dynamite were to 
be inserted into the holes. The distance was somewhat 
longer and the labor rather harder than had been antici- 
pated. The sides and roof of the gallery, dug in the 
soft earth by hand and shovel, were prevented from fall- 
ing in by boards, which were placed triangularly, tent- 
wise a piece of work which necessitated a most uncom- 
fortable twist of the body, since in no place was there 
sufficient height to stand up. The whole stock of tools 
consisted of two shovels and a sort of scoop, like that 
used by grocers, to smooth the sides of the gallery 
before placing the boards ; the auger or borer and the 
pipes lay in readiness they had been ordered in Mos- 
cow, the workmen of course being ignorant of their des- 
tination. The auger was afterward sent to St. Petersburg, 
where it turned up in the secret printing office and served 
as one of the most convincing items of evidence. The 
earth was taken out on sheets of tin plate, provided with 
casters and running on rails an ingenious contrivance of 
1 1 the Alchemist. ' ' Each load was brought under the hatch 
or shaft cut in one of the rooms on the ground-floor, and 
raised by means of ropes, worked from above by a spe- 
cies of roughly constructed windlass. The greatest dif- 
ficulty was how to dispose of the earth and rubbish. At 
first it was spread out and smoothly trodden down in the 


yard ; then they began to fill the cellar with it, and lastly 
took to shovelling it into the larder on the ground floor, 
which at one time was crammed so tightly that the walls 
gave way, and boards began to fall out of them. Diffi- 
culties increased as the work advanced. A wooden post 
on which they stumbled gave them very much trouble. 
Stones greatly obstructed their advance as they neared 
the embankment. In one place water oozed through the 
top of the vault and threatened an inundation, so that it 
had to be pumped out ; and once the work was inter- 
rupted for two days. Lastly, and in spite of ventilation- 
pipes laid in every convenient place, the air grew more 
and more oppressive and scarce, not to mention the dan- 
ger of being buried under crumbling masses of earth a 
danger which became so great that "the Alchemist" 
always carried poison about him, to insure himself a 
prompt and painless death, should the expected catastro- 
phe really come to pass. The fatigue, the hardship, and 
the suffering must have been terrible to men for the most 
part unused to manual labor. Yet this seditious house- 
hold seems to have been by no means a gloomy one. Its 
members were united ; the self-imposed duties were dis- 
charged with enthusiastic emulation. Only one proved 
"a wretched workman, and so lazy that he was dis- 
carded ; " another was in bad health, and for that reason 
was sent off on some easier errand, not without taking 
with him a small stone from the gallery " as a keepsake." 
One of the youngest members, though miserably ill all 
the while, and probably consumptive, was the most inde- 
fatigable laborer of all. His deep conviction of working 
for the good of his country supported him through hard- 
ship and pain. But even aside from the ultimate object, 
the well-known beneficent, exhilarating power of work, 
the actual process of labor in itself, independently of 



every association or ambition, must have made itself felt 
in heightened pulse and genial flow of spirits. These 
fanatical young miners must often have rejoiced at some 
obstacle overcome by patience, at some success achieved 

under difficulties by some simple but clever contrivance, at 
some gossip outwitted, without reflecting at every instant 
that the result for which they strained nerve and brain 
was to be death to many, and in all probability to them- 
selves. There is a freshness and cheeriness about this 


part of Goldenberg's relation which is very pathetic 
when contrasted with the circumstances under which he 
wrote. He dwells on little incidents of no importance 
whatever with respect to the momentous facts of which 
he treats, but full of interest and dramatic vividness, as if 
even in the dreary, hopeless solitude of his prison cell he 
still enjoyed the whiff of life and liberty wafted into his 
living grave by the retrospect of those days of lawless- 
ness and danger, but also of daring and enthusiasm. He 
writes : 

" We worked very assiduously, beginning generally about six in the morn- 
ing ; by eight we usually had placed one pair of boards, when we came in to 
tea. We then worked on till two, our dinner hour ; took a short rest, and 
worked again till ten. ... I remember that once, during the first days 
of my stay, the former owner of the house, Anna Trofimoff, came in to get 
some sweet meats which she had left in the larder. This happened in the 
morning, and she was met by Hartmann, as the rest were all underground. 
Mariana Semiovna [the lady who played housekeeper to the party], being 
aware that the larder was choke full of earth so that several boards had burst 
out of the sides a state of things which could not fail to excite the visitor's 
attention professed to have lost the key, and so kept her away from it. 
Another morning Anna Trofimoff came in with a relative of hers, to take 
away some other things. At that very moment Mariana Semiovna was ap- 
proaching the house with her marketing. We did not wish her to be met by 
Anna Trofimoff, who might have noticed the large quantity of her purchases, 
so we rapped on the window and signed to her not to come nearer ; she un- 
derstood us and retired. She was quite equal at any time to take care of herself 
and us. Thus once, when Anna Trofimoff 's servant Mary came in and made 
some remarks which caused us to feel uncomfortable, Mariana began to talk of 
her housekeeping, and how the cat had drunk all the milk, and so turned off 
the conversation. ... I also remember that Hartmann once forgot to 
shut and lock the door of the kitchen, where we had cut the hatch. Next 
morning an old man came, whose name I do not remember, but who used to 
live in the house before it was sold, and, on entering, remonstrated with 
Hartmann on the imprudence of leaving the door open. We were in the 
next room, and hearing this were greatly frightened, lest the old man might 
have noticed our work : but he had not." 

The women shared the household duties with as much 
eagerness and good-will as 1 the men jointly pursued their 


underground work. Nor was their assistance limited to 
this humbler sphere. When the day and hour of the 
Emperor's passage was announced in the. papers, and the 
roles had to be finally distributed for tlie closing scene, it 
was Sophia Perovsky who was ordered to stand on the 
track, watch for the train, and give the signal by waving 
her handkerchief. " She was greatly pleased," says 
Goldenberg, " that this duty had devolved upon her, and 
repeatedly told me that she considered herself fortunate." 
Meanwhile it was known that the police hovered alarm- 
ingly in the neighborhood, as they always do around 
every railway station on the imperial itinerary ; and it 
was unanimously resolved, in case of surprise, to blow up 
the house, but on no account to surrender alive. From 
that moment Sophia Perovsky or another continually 
mounted guard with cocked revolver in the room where 
the dynamite was kept in two large bottles under a bed, 
ready at any moment to fire into it. 

Shakespeare might have dramatized this' sketch ; but 
could he have improved it? 

Lipetsk is a small and rather insignificant town mid- 
way between Moscow and Kharkoff, in the Government 
of Tamboff. It glories in some springs of very mild 
mineral waters, which in the short midsummer season, 
with the orthodox accompaniment of noisy bands of mu- 
sic and noisier casino, attract considerable crowds of 
doubtful refinement, representatives of the second-hand 
world of fashion, when the place flares up for a few 
weeks into a sort of hectic, fictitious life. It was here 
that Kviatkovsky, Goldenberg, and their friends, after 
the failure of the 14th of April, met by previous ap- 
pointment toward the end of June, openly, in the public 
gardens, mindful of the fact that privacy is nowhere 
more undisturbed than in a throng, and that it is safest 



to talk secrets with doors wide open. These desultory 
meetings and preliminary conferences went on for some 

days, until all the lenders, convoked from different parts 
of the empire, were assembled. Then, when the serious 


business had to be attacked, it was deemed advisable to 
adjourn to more secluded spots, and the party used to 
saunter singly, or in small groups, into a neighboring 
wood, or to row themselves across the river, and hold 
their seance in an open meadow. The points to be dis- 
cussed and resolved upon were all-important : they were 
the expediency of renewed attempts against the Czar's 
life at no distant period, and the urgency of giving the 
party " a stronger, more compact organization." Gol- 
denberg says : 

" The first of these points was readily disposed of. I and several others 
spoke in favor of a prompt execution of the intended regicide, in order quickly 
to convince the Government that harsh measures would not put a stop to the 
movement directed against it, and that therefore it would have to make con- 
cessions. ... I moreover moved the assassination of the Governors- 
General of Odessa, Kieff, and St. Petersburg, though, of course, only in case 
that it should not interfere with the regicide, which was to be our first and 
principal object." 

It is especially impressive and painfully significant to 
find these sanguinary measures countenanced by a young 
man, Goldenberg's particular friend, whom he expressly 
mentions as " one of the gentlest and most humane of 
men, held in profound esteem by the entire revolutionary 
party, although he belonged to one special faction of it. 
1 should remark," he adds, " that he was not very favor- 
ably inclined to the terrorizing system, and had but lately 
joined it, moved solely by a revengeful and embittered 
feeling against the Government in consequence of a long 
series of cruel persecutions, which had impressed him the 
more deeply that some of those who had suffered death 
had been his associates and friends." 

Little contradiction, then, was encountered by the 
resolution decreeing a further continuance of the "ter- 
rorizing system." The difficulties of the organization 


question were much greater. It was, indeed, a compli- 
cated question , at least practically ; for in theory all had 
long felt the absolute necessity of greater unity, of more 
concerted action. The different fractions of the social- 
istic or revolutionary party, distinguished by various 
shadings of opinion not merely as to the means to be em- 
ployed, but frequently as to the ultimate objects to be 
pursued, preserved toward each other an indifferent, 
sometimes almost hostile, attitude, and carried on a sep- 
arate propaganda by means of their several secret organs 
printed and disseminated by different centres, which dis- 
claimed all connection with each other. It was to con- 
ciliate these dissentions, to merge all the various frag- 
mentary cliques into one vast co-operative organization, 
that so many leaders met at Lipetsk. It was, an almost 
hopeless task ; and though they did achieve a certain re- 
sult, and even produced a sort of statute, which, how- 
ever, was never printed, it was, on the whole, a very 
imperfect and makeshift performance. There was to be 
a "directing committee," which, from the nature of the 
duties it assumed, might be called a superior agent ; 
while the " executive committee " clearly ought to have 
taken an inferior position. On this Goldenberg, with a 
characteristic directness which at once discloses the 
feebleness of the organization, remarks : 

" But our people generally objected to subordination, and therefore the 
executive committee was not really placed under the control of the directing 
committee. The latter was bound to know all that was going on in the ter- 
roristic faction, and indeed, in the entire revolutionary party ; in its hands 
were centred all the resources of the party, and it was to provide the neces- 
sary means for whatever undertaking was in hand. The ' executive ' was to 
consist of persons whose duty it was to take an active part in such undertak- 
ings, of course with the knowledge of the directing committee. It does not 
follow, however, that the initiative of a given undertaking belonged exclu- 
sively to the directing committee ; far from it. The executive also had the right 
of making motions and submitting them to the higher committee. There was 


no such thing as a strict line of demarcation between the two, as can be seen 
from the fact that a member of the directing committee could not issue binding 
dispositions without the sanction of the executive, nor take on himself execut- 
ive acts. It was, moreover, resolved to have agents of two degrees ; those 
of the first degree to be invested with greater trust, those of the second with 
lesser. The duty of these agents was to fulfil whatever was imposed on 
them. The directing committee was to reside in St. Petersburg, the mem- 
bers of the executive wherever their presence and services would be needed." 

One of the prisoners completed this account at the 
trial by remarking that "the distinction between the 
members of the organization and its agents was real and 
important. It was resolved that persons who were as yet 
little known, but whom it could be hoped to find useful 
and reliable in the sequel, should be attracted by every 
possible means, and tried occasionally in small things, 
with great care to find out, above all, whether they 
approved of the general programme of the party, and 
were fit to be trusted with the execution of more impor- 
tant missions. 

This is, indeed, the very infancy of co-operation ; and 
if so many desperate deeds were achieved, or at least at- 
tempted, it is to be attributed not so much to the effi- 
ciency of the association, lacking as it was in blind dis- 
cipline, that main nerve of every secret society, as to the 
powerful individuality of some of its members, acting 
severally or in groups. Goldenberg's rather naively 
worded statement, "our people generally objected to 
subordination," sets forth in homely fashion a lesson 
taught by the whole history of Russia ; namely, that 
" our people," though able at any moment to muster a 
superb array of personal capacities, intellectual and 
moral, have always been, through lack of training or 
some more deep-lying natural bias, singularly unapt for 
prolonged combined action. We are born protestants, 
every one of us ; and however we may yield up our will 


to external guidance, there always remains an indestruc- 
tible nucleus of reasoning self, which rebels and shrinks 
from going all lengths merely because we are told to do 
so, even in a cherished cause, and under approved leader- 
ship. This quality, like every other, has its good and 
evil sides. It has at times disastrously asserted itself in 
our history as when, enforced by petty rivalries and 
mutual jealousies, it retarded by more than one score of 
years the final liberation of our land from the Tartar 
yoke, which might have been thrown off earlier by the 
united action of our several princes. Yet, on the other 
hand, when called into play by honest motives, it con- 
tains, perhaps, a safeguard against that passive subjec- 
tion to mere authority which makes men follow a waving 
banner when it has ceased to be anything but a rag of 
silk or bunting, and stake their lives and souls on a 
watchword after it has long been only the empty shell of 
an idea. However that may be, this key-note makes 
itself distinctly heard through the uproar of our late 
troubles. It rings out very clearly in Solovieff's declara- 
tion that, should his associates unanimously disapprove 
of his project, he will separate himself from them, and 
pursue it at his own risk, and on his own responsibility 
before the law and before his conscience. We may be 
very sure that the knot of underground workers on the 
outskirts of Moscow would not have been deterred from 
their undertaking by the most positive prohibition from 
their party's highest authorities ; they would simply have 
seceded, and gone on doing what they considered right 
and necessary. 

One item of the unwritten statute seems to have been 
most consistently carried out that of secrecy. The 
means employed were twofold : first the lavish use of 
false papers, most o'f the agents being provided with sev- 


eral names and passports to match ; second; the strict 
observance of the rule to keep every agent as much as 
possible in the dark concerning everything but the par- 
ticular " job" imposed on him, and, as far as feasible, 
in ignorance even of his fellow-conspirators, who were to 
be- introduced to him as occasion required, and as the 
more knowing agents saw fit. No agent was, on any ac- 
count, to discover himself even to his nearest and dearest 
without the authorization of a superior agent. This sys- 
tem must have produced a most intricate social status, 
and made daily life a network of imbroglios to which old 
Spanish comedy was simple and transparent. What a 
curious state of mind to live in, when a man was liable 
at any moment to see some inoffensive comrade a light- 
hearted sister, or cousin, or young lady friend -appear 
in the character of a blood-thirsty revolutionist : to rec- 
ognize in the stranger to whom he was formally intro- 
duced his dearest friend, whom he thought of as hundreds 
of miles distant ; to form new friendships without ever 
knowing his new friends' real names, or their knowing 
his ! In short, every man must have lived under the be- 
wildering impression that everybody, himself included, 
was, or might prove to be somebody else ! Indeed, the 
sedulous observance of these aliases and disguises almost 
suggests an amused suspicion that this, as one mightterm 
it, masquerading part of conspiring was not without exer- 
cising a peculiar attraction on the youthful plotters, after 
they had been duly prepared and electrified at frequent, 
though generally not numerous, meetings by the well- 
directed harangues of able and experienced agitators. 
Goldenberg has in one place very graphically described, 
in his unadorned style, these match-and-gunpowder ex- 
periments. The meeting of which he speaks had been 
arranged at the house of a schoolmaster, and was at- 


tended by some twenty persons, young men and young 
women. Says Goldenberg : 

"I spoke about the purport of the terroristic movement; alluded to regi- 
cide, of course only theoretically, without even hinting that such an act was 
really in contemplation. My object was merely to feel my ground, and find 
out the views of the young people on this topic. I took care not to overstep 
plausible bounds, and did not expatiate on the greatness of our power and 
resources. Closely observing the impression which my speech produced on 
the young people, I came to the conclusion that they did not fully comprehend 
me, and that all the things I was talking of were rather novel to the major- 
ity of my audience; at the same time, I could see that I had aroused in them 
the wish to elucidate all these questions. The second meeting took place at 
the house of a student ; it was attended by forty persons the former twenty 
and twenty more, whose names I cannot remember at this distance of time. 

. . . The result of these meetings was that our young people took the 
greatest liking to them, and began to manifest an almost passionate desire to 
have them frequently repeated." 

That so powerful and far-reaching a weapon should 
not be neglected by the leaders of the party when they 
discussed the practical questions of ways and -means, was 
but natural. Accordingly we find it decreed that, " apart 
from political murders and regicide, a vast plan of agita- 
tion shall be pursued among ' the young people,' the 
army and peasantry." It is well known, however, that 
in the two latter classes, from organically historical 
causes which it would take a separate paper to investi- 
gate, revolutionary agitation has always signally failed, 
to the confusion and not unfrequently the personal danger 
of the agents employed. 

Such were the principal acts and resolutions of the 
famous socialistic convention held at Lipetsk in June, 
1879, the immediate sequel to which were the threefold 
railway mining attempt and the crowning scene of which 
we still have to record. But in describing the horrors of 
the 17th of February, 1880, and all that followed it, we 
are deprived of our invaluable guide, Goldenber"g's depo- 



sition. The daring revolutionist's career came to a close 
with those last busy days which he spent with his mining 
friends near Moscow. He was sent off by them to 
Odessa for the dynamite forwarded to that city several 

weeks before, and now rendered useless by the Emperor's 
change of route and consequent cessation of the mining 
operations on the track, as it was thought the reinforce- 
ment might be available for the Moscow mine, and insure 


more complete success. In Odessa, Goldenberg had in- 
terviews with several associates, received the dynamite, 
and having packed it in his trunk, together with sundry 
bottles of wine and cans of preserves, a very welcome 
offering from the ladies of the party to their Moscow 
friends, he was calmly proceeding on his way to the lat- 
ter when he was arrested at Telizavetgrad, a railway sta- 
tion half-way between Odessa and Poltava. This hap- 
pened five days before the explosion on the Moscow track. 
Yet, even though deprived of the valuable information 
concerning the preparations for the final coup of the 17th 
of February, which a continuation of Goldenberg' s nar- 
rative would doubtless have afforded us, we still find in 
the examinations of the prisoners and witnesses, as well 
as in the speech of the counsel for the Crown, sufficient 
scraps and traits from life to enable us to piece together 
a very vivid picture of the dismay and confusion which 
must have arisen in the Winter Palace when that tremen- 
dous crash broke in upon the compliments with which the 
Emperor was welcoming Prince Alexander of Hesse, who 
was that evening to be his guest at a family dinner in the 
private apartments. Officials wildly rushing into the 
lower story, under the impression that either the steam- 
boiler or the gas had exploded ; the alarm-bell of the 
corps-de-garde ringing frantically at the same time ; the 
shrieks and groans of the dying and wounded, who 
struggled painfully from under the debris of the demol- 
ished guard-room, or lay helplessly crushed beneath them 
(sixty-seven persons in all!); lastly the sudden report 
that one of the three carpenters in whose room the ex- 
plosion was discovered to have taken place was missing, 
all this must have combined into a scene of uproar and 
terror not easily matched outside of a beleaguered and 
bombarded city. The report about the missing carpen- 


ter, which was speedily confirmed, restored some degree 
of order and composure, by giving a definite object to the 
hitherto aimless search and random surmises of the 
panic-stricken inmates. It was soon evident that this 
man, and no other, had been the doer. He had been 
seen in the basement and in his room a quarter of an 
hour before the explosion ; had then been found busy in 
the dark at something or other by one of his comrades, 
who on entering had offered to strike a light, but had 
been roughly prevented by him ; and from that moment 
the carpenter had entirely disappeared. Further inqui- 
ries showed that this person, who called himself Baty- 
shkoff, had been employed in the palace over six months, 
and, while he approved himself a well-behaved, thorough 
workman, had been noticed by his companions and su- 
periors as a man of education, highly intelligent, and 
fully capable of taking a plan and making a correct draw- 
ing. About a month before the explosion he had brought 
a heavy chest and placed it in his room, and, on being 
asked what he did it for, had jestingly answered that he 
meant to hoard a treasure from his earnings in the palace. 
Subsequent investigations and various discoveries, such 
as a cleverly-sketched plan of the Winter Palace, on 
which were some words in his handwriting, his identifica- 
tion by witnesses from a photograph, etc., proved be- 
yond a doubt that the supposed Batyshkoff was no other 
than Khaltourin, a notorious revolutionist, who, under 
the greatest variety of aliases, and as far back as 1875 
and 1876, had been plying an active " agitation " among 
the working-classes, and organizing the secret association 
known under the name of " Northern Workingmen's 
League." He was specially fitted for this circle of ac- 
tion, being himself one of the working-class and by birth 
a peasant, who, by self-education and a course of studies 


in a technical school, had qualified himself for the part 
of a leader. He was never found after his disappearance 
from the palace, and we cannot help wishing he may 
have effected a final escape, as it is known that he was in 
the gripe of a foe as implacable as human justice, con- 
sumption, which in our clime seldom gives long respites 
to its victims. He had been talking of going south, and 
seems also to have had a vague intention of making his 
way to America, to found or join some agricultural colony 
on socialistic principles. 

It was, of course, not for one moment supposed that 
this attempt, planned as it was on so gigantic a scale, 
with such far-reaching foresight, executed with such un- 
exampled daring and infallible precision, should fiave 
been the isolated deed of one fanatical schemer. Its 
connection with the vast terroristic system, suspected 
from the first, was soon established by the concatenation 
in which it was proved to stand with certain other facts, 
revealed a short time before, but not yet fully explained 
facts which, by the light now shed on them, stood 
forth in their full significance, too obvious to need more 
than recording, in order to bring the last crime home to 
the central influence from which so many others had 

It is now that the name of Kviatkovsky first becomes 
conspicuous. Until the very moment of his arrest, this 
remarkable man, one of the "master-spirits" and mo- 
tive powers of the whole engine, had contrived to escape 
a notoriety which must have deprived the party of one 
of its most gifted leaders, and had worked steadily and 
covertly in the dark, participating, indeed, in all the 
more important machinations, putting in an appearance at 
Lipetsk, but reserving to himself more especially the 
handling of that chief lever of all, the secret press, 


whose discovery and suppression quickly followed his 
arrest and the search instituted in his lodgings as early as 
the 6th of December, 1879. Some articles produced by 
this search were deemed, not unreasonably, to be con- 
clusive evidence of his complicity in his party's crown- 
ing act of frenzy. Yet Kviatkovsky himself, from 
reasons difficult to fathom, saw fit utterly to deny to the 
last having been concerned in this particular act, or hav- 
ing had previous knowledge of it, even while protesting 
that he had no hopes that such a denial could save his 
life, which he admitted to be forfeited on many other 
grounds, each of them sufficient to seal his doom. It is 
hardly to be supposed that so clear-headed a man should 
have expected his word to prevail against such circum- 
stantial evidence as the following articles found in his 
own room : ( 1) a plan, very correctly drawn from mem- 
ory, of the Winter Palace, with some words aud short 
notes proved to be in Khaltourin's writing, and found 
crumpled up on the floor in a corner, amid a heap of 
waste-paper; (2) three portable mines, complete and 
ready for use; and (3) a passport under the name of 
Batourin, one of Khaltourin's well-known aliases. Yet 
he persisted in his most incredible statement that he 
knew nothing of the plan until it was found in his room, 
and that he had not the remotest suspicion by whom it 
could have been brought or left there ; that the passport 
had been given him to keep by a friend, who himself had 
it from an unknown workingman, and that he had never 
been told Batourin 's real name. As for the mines, he 
simply declined telling who had brought them to his 

But this search, exhaustively carried on all through 
the evening and night (from 6 p. M. to 5 A. M.), led to 
even more important results, as hinted above. It em- 


braced not only his own room, hut that of Eugenie 
Figner a young lady of considerable ability and educa- 
tion, Kviatkovsky's devoted fellow-worker, and to whom 
he seems to have been attached by more than the bond of 
a common cause. She was one of the sixteen prisoners 
at the bar. Both of course lived under assumed names. 
Her ostensible occupation was music, to which, as a 
measure of precaution, she devoted enough time every 
day to enable her cook to depose at the trial that " the 
lady was mostly playing on the piano in the absence of 
the gentleman, who used to go out early in the morning, 
and to come home only to dinner and tea." The same 
witness, however, added that both "the lady" and her 
sister, who at one time stayed with her, " used to write 
a great deal," a piece of information which, consider- 
ing her connection with the manager of the secret press, 
was not interpreted in her favor. But then, nothing 
much more criminating could have been adduced against 
them both than a simple enumeration of the articles 
found in their lodgings. In Eugenie Figner's room, a 
glass vessel with dynamite ; a bundle of white paper, the 
size and shape of Narodnaya Volia (Will of the Peo- 
ple) ; and six hundred and fifty-three copies of odd 
numbers of that paper itself. In the dining-room, forty- 
five copies of a proclamation issued by the executive 
coraittee on occasion of the late railroad explosion near 
Moscow. In Kviatkovsky's own room, packed in a 
trunk, proof-sheets of the Narodnaya Volia, and other 
products of the "free press;" forty-five copies of 
a revolutionary programme of action ; several manu- 
scripts containing seditious matter, evidently ready for 
the press ; a proclamation " To the brave Cossack army," 
and sundry letters ; lastly, a package of forged pass- 
ports, certificates, and other documents. Kviatkovsky, 


aware of the unanswerable nature of the evidence, did 
not attempt denial for his own part, but only used every 
effort to clear his friend by asserting that the crimina- 
ting articles found in her bureau had been laid there by 
him shortly before the search, in her absence and with- 
out her knowledge. In his defence for he, in common 
with several of his companions, had refused the assist- 
ance of the counsel proffered him by the court he main- 
tained this point as earnestly as his denial concerning his 
complicity in the catastrophe at the Winter Palace. 

The next important disclosures were made at the lodg- 
ings of another active accomplice, searched a few days 
later, on the 16th of December. From the nature of the 
articles found in his possession it was evident that this 
person an inferior clerk in some government office was 
chiefly employed, probably on account of his skill in pen- 
manship, in the manufacture of those false documents 
with which agents were so lavishly supplied. A com- 
plete set of the necessary materials and implements, to- 
gether with a handsome collection of autograph signatures 
of high officials, were discovered in a large leathern trunk, 
besides a number of proof-sheets and papers similar to 
those confiscated in Kviatkovsky's rooms, and the usual 
accompaniment of dynamite obligate. Moreover, the 
owner's connection with the secret press was made pat- 
ent by the presence of a quantity of type of a size cor- 
responding to that of the " Narodnaya Volia." But the 
final and most tragical event came to pass a few weeks 
later, on the 30th of January, 1880, when the police 
descended in force, assisted by a party of gendarmes, on 
the revolutionary printing office itself, after having first, 
by long and patient spying and ferreting, ascertained be- 
yond the possibility of a mistake that it was organized in 
a private lodging kept by one of those fictitious couples 


who form so conspicuous a feature of these strange 
times. The scene which ensued must have been chaotic ; 
for it is a hopeless task to try and elicit anything like a 
consistent, orderly narrative from the mass of fragment- 
ary, individual evidence given by the different actors. 
Their statements are not contradictory, only vague and 
confused ; like those of men who have been engaged in 
action too exciting and too rapid to be able to account for 
it minutely in cold blood. So much is certain : the door 
was not opened in obedience to repeated summons, and 
had to be burst in ; the police, when they at length 
forced their way into the rooms, were confronted by 
utter darkness, silence, and clicking revolvers ; a violent 
blind scuffle ensued, in which about sixty shots were ex- 
changed, without serious results, on account of the dark- 
ness. At last there was a cry, " We surrender !" "How 
many are you;" was asked. "Five!" answered a fe- 
male voice. Another was heard in angry remonstrance : 
" Cowards ! was it not agreed that we were all to tight it 
out ! And now you skulk behind and leave us women in 
the front." In another moment, and after some strug- 
gling on the part of the men, four persons, two of them 
women, were secured and bound, while six revolvers were 
picked up from the floor. 

One of the police officers who advanced into the 
other rooms to look for his prisoner, was greeted on the 
threshold of the furthest one by a double report ; and 
when a lamp was at length brought in (it must be re- 
membered that our private houses are not lit with gas), 
he beheld a ghastly sight ; a man lying dead upon a mat- 
tress on the floor, shot through the head, evidently an 
act of suicide, committed as a last resource against sur- 
render. Both balls, from two shots fired in immediate 
succession, had entered the right temple through the 


same opening almost simultaneously, leaving a black and 
carbonized edge around the wound, but had issued from 
the skull, after traversing the brain, in two different 
places, through an opening just above the left ear, and 
another in the crown of the head. When the prisoners 
had been disposed of, and the search could begin without 
further disturbance, the first thing that was discovered, 
thrown into a corner of the room where the dead man 
lay, and wrapped in some old matting, was the identical 
auger which had been used for boring purposes in the 
Moscow railway mine. The rest of the booty made up a 
most formidable inventory : a printing press in perfect 
working order ; about 25 pauds (1,000 pounds) of type, 
4,000 copies of the "Narodnaya Volia" heaps of 
forged documents, passport blanks, certificates of dif- 
ferent kinds, etc. together with everything necessary 
for the fabrication of those documents, some dynamite 
of course, two pamphlets on the preparation of the sub- 
stance, several plans illustrating the process of blowing 
up a rapidly advancing train, and many other things, be- 
sides the six revolvers and three daggers. This was 
certainly sufficient to justify the accusation in affirming 
that " these lodgings contained, besides the secret print- 
ing office, the central agency for the manufacturing of 
false papers and supplying therewith all persons for 
whom it became necessary to assume an ' illegal ' posi- 
tion, as well as a laboratory for the preparation of dyna- 
mite and other explosive substances." 

The separate charge against the prisoner Presniakoff 
given in the Act of Accusation under the head of 
" Armed resistance to the agents of the law, as expressed 
by two shots fired by the prisoner, wounding one and 
causing the death of the other of his captors" presents 
no particular interest or complication, and may therefore 


be dismissed with the brief remark that the prisoner's 
guilt was amply proved. It remains to record the sen- 
tence, pronounced late in the evening of the seventh day 
of this long and laborious trial. For Kviatkovsky, Pres- 
niakoff and three more, it was death by hanging ; for 
the remaining eleven, banishment to Siberia in dif- 
ferent grades of severity, with or without imprisonment 
and hard labor, and for terms varying from fifteen 
to twenty years. At the same time the latter prisoners 
were recommended to mercy, and considerable commu- 
tations proposed for all. In its final form, the sentence 
condemned only two to hard labor in the mines for fif- 
teen years. Of the rest, some were sentenced to hard 
labor, not in the mines but in state factories, for four 
and eight years ; some to banishment to more or less 
remote parts of Siberia ; while Drigo and one other es- 
caped with a very mild sentence, simply obliging them to 
reside hereafter in the Government of Tomsk, the most 
western, and consequently most civilized, region of Si- 
beria. Degradation was passed alike against all. In 
confirming the sentence of the court, the Emperor fur- 
ther commuted the death penalty of three of the five 
condemned prisoners to exile, with imprisonment and 
hard labor for life. To Kviatkovsky and Presniakoff, 
however, the imperial mercy did not extend ; and they 
suffered death on the 16th of November, within the walls 
of the fortress. 

It is but fair to state that, throughout this long and 
fatiguing judicial procedure, the treatment used towards 
the prisoners was uniformly considerate and polite, the 
mode of addressing and questioning them scrupulously 
courteous ; also, that the counsel for the prosecution in 
their speeches not only evidently strove to remain within 
the strict bounds of impartial justice, but repeatedly 


showed a leaning towards leniency. Thus, in deferring 
to one of the female defenders of the printing office a 
woman of the peasant class who had lived there ostensi- 
bly as cook the orator parenthetically expressed hope 
that the judges would find it not inconsistent with their 
duty to visit her with the lightest possible punishment, 
in consideration of her ignorance, almost even of reading 
and writing, and of her utter want of culture amounting 
to stupidity, and accompanied by partial deafness. All 
this is in keeping with the serious and dignified spirit in 
which our lawyers, since the great judicial reform, regard 
their profession. That compound of unseemly virulence, 
ferocious vindictiveness, and bombastic phraseology 
which, under the name of reqisitoire, is the disgrace of 
French criminal courts and the glory of an aspiring pro- 
cureur du roi or de Vempereur, or de la republique, as the 
case may be is utterly repugnant to the deep humane 
bent of the Russian nature. A Russian procureur would 
scorn to dig into the past life of an unfortunate prisoner, 
in order triumphantly to drag to light his most trivial 
youthful peccadilloes, nay ! his schoolboy pranks, and by 
dint of cruel ingenuity to force and twist them into so 
many proofs of a precocious viciousness, an unnatural pro- 
pensity to evil, until he stands before society a predestined 
criminal, a monster branded even before he failed, and 
now placed entirely out of the pale of humanity. Ever 
since the European judicial forms and institutions were 
transplanted into Russian soil, and quickly took root in 
it, our parquet has been remarkable in the discharge of 
its duties by a moderation and humane regard to fairness, 
which prove it to have thoroughly grasped the higher 
sense of its responsible and so often painful functions. 
It could not be otherwise in a country where the common 
people call prisoners of all kinds, without distinction of 


rank or degree of criminality, by a generic name mean- 
ing " unhappy ones," but conveying a shade of infinitely 
deeper and tenderer pity than can be rendered by the 
English word. When the chained gangs of malefactors 
and alas ! political convicts were not exempted from 
the practice used to be led across the whole Empire on 
their endless, weary march to Siberia, the population of 
the villages would pour out to meet them, and may be 
escort them a short distance, not with insults and impre- 
cations, but with gentle words and outstretched offerings 
of food and even money. Now that convict trains and 
convict cars run on all the lines, and have done away with 
this long preliminary torture, popular sympathy still as- 
serts itself at the railway stations, and many a douceur 
of tobacco, delicate wheaten bread, or small coins, is 
handed in at the windows. 

Siberia ! the mines! Horror-laden, these words loom 
out mysteriously, an awful impersonation of the great 
bleak North, which appears in a vague remoteness, as a 
limbo of punishment, desolation and despair ! And truly 
it were difficult to overrate the dreadful import of those 
names. The vast arctic continent with its huge, slug- 
gish, silent rivers, its immense lowering forests teeming 
with fur-bearing game, its stilt more immense expanses of 
eternally snow-bound plains, its hidden ore, its convict 
colonies, is not a cheerful picture to contemplate, at least 
not this side of the picture. But there is another side to 
it. The statesman and political economist sees in this 
gigantic appendage to Russia a great promise for the 
future, a rich reserve of potential resources. He watches 
rejoicingly its growing cities, its incipient colonization, 
its developing industrial and commercial enterprise, the 
progress of culture which slowly but surely spreads, 
"brinsniur with it its thousand demands of intellectual and 

c o t 

material refinement, where till lately money-making 


reigned supreme in its most vulgar, unmitigated coarse- 
ness. And he knows that these results are in great part 
effected by the influx of the Russian element by means 
of convict transportation. It would take me far beyond 
my present limits, and away from my present theme, to 
discuss this very extensive and intricate subject. But it 
will not be inconsistent with either to attempt a sketch of 
the probable future career of the hundreds of young men 
who of late years have trodden the long, dreary road to 
the far East. 

Let us follow those whose doom is heaviest. Few of 
them probably none will end their allotted term at 
the mines or State factories. An untimely death will 
doubtless end the sufferings of man} 7 , enfeebled from ill 
health brought on or aggravated by confinement, hard- 
ships, or climate, before the tardy hand of mercy can 
reach them. Yet, wonderful to say, many more survive 
the horrors of the first years than would seem possible 
for men of gentle nurture and urihardened body. If 
they are resigned and quietly behaved, they will after a 
while three, four, or five years instead of the fifteen or 
twenty of their sentence be brought under one of the 
so-called " gracious manifestoes " which are always being 
issued on occasion of birthdays, births, marriages, etc., 
in the Emperor's immediate family, and transferred to 
some one of the convict colonies, from which in due 
time they will be released in like manner and allowed to 
live within some particular rural district, at a great dis- 
tance from city or town, and under strict surveillance of 
the local police. Gradually the range widens, till it 
comprises district towns ; the surveillance is lightened ; at 
last the capital of the Government itself is opened to 
the half-pardoned convict, and with it society and re- 
sources of every kind. Society, indeed, is apt to lionize 
him. It now depends in a great measure on himself, his 


good sense and abilities, to shape his further fortunes. 
Men of education and scientific or technical attainments 
are in as great demand, and for the same reasons, in our 
far east as in the far west of this country. And when 
by the end of ten or twelve years, as is generally the 
case, and after having previously been transferred to the 
more populous and civilized western Governments, the 
political convict is restored to his rank and privileges, 
freed from all disabilities and finally recalled from ban- 
ishment, it is by no means rare to see him return to the 
shores of the Baikal of his own free will, to settle there 
for life. I have known such lawyers, physicians, engi- 
neers, miners able and energetic men, who had come to 
love the wilderness, with its wide openings, its large hos- 
pitality, its manifold possibilities, and would not have 
exchanged it, except on compulsion, for what they had 
already learned to call the cold, narrow spirit of the over- 
crowded cities of the old world ; though heaven knows 
they need not have objected to any portion of even old 
Russia on account of over-crowding ! One young law- 
yer in particular do I remember. He was little over 
thirty, sturdy of frame, and keen of look ; his manners 
had lost the polish of his early social training, and ac- 
quired a certain not unpleasing self-relying nonchalance. 
He had come to St. Petersburg on a hurried trip to see 
his friends, assert his newly-recovered rights, and trans- 
act some business ; but all his thoughts were centred on 
a speedy return to Irkoutsk, where he had left a promis- 
ing and already flourishing practice, some half-started 
ventures in JL mining enterprise, and, as he almost hinted, 
a fairer attraction than all these, in the form of a well- 
dowered daughter of some wealthy merchant. He was 
so enthusiastic in his descriptions as almost to become 
poetical, and every day he was detained in the capital 
appeared to him a real loss. Such political exiles as are 


not deprived of their liberty, but only bound to reside 
within certain assigned districts, of course have all the 
more chances in their favor. The intercession of friends 
at home also does much to shorten their term and hasten 
their transfer to cities or more habitable regions, if thej r 
behave judiciously, and have not the exceptional ill-luck 
of falling under the rule of some of those ignorant and 
wantonly brutal officials, whose number diminishes with 
every year, and who will soon live only in local traditions, 
the indignant records of the contemporary press, or the 
memoirs of some prisoners endowed with literary talent. 

The assassination of our Emperor, Alexander II., is of 
too recent occurrence, the particulars of which, and of 
the trial of his murderers are too well known by all the 
civilized world for me to enter upon a consideration of 
any of the circumstances connected therewith. All Rus- 
sia mourns his loss as a grateful child would that of a kind 
and indulgent father. 

No sovereign, not Elizabeth herself, had done for his 
people spontaneously what Alexander II. had done for 
his. Splendidly supported by his nobility, he had car- 
ried out the abolition of serfdom with a high hand, with 
precipitation 'almost, and intolerance of all gainsaying 
which was the very recklessness of an honest determina- 
tion to '-do right quickly, and at all cost. This gigantic 
act was followed, with scarce breathing time between, by 
one of hardly less importance the judicial reform, in- 
troducing open courts of law and public trial by jury. 
Then came the partial enfranchisement of the press 
after the model, very imperfect indeed, of the French 
press-laws under Napoleon III., but expressly announced 
as preliminary and temporary. Was that the man, was 
that the sovereign, to be requited with an assassin's ball? 

Nothing was less justifiable than the shot fired at the 
Emperor in 1866, but so naturally kind-hearted andmer- 




ciful was he, that there are few now who doubt if left 
to himself he would have spared the life of his murder- 
ous assailant. Had he followed the merciful dictates of 
his own heart, the first "misunderstanding" between 
him and his people might never have arisen. If at 
that critical hour there were any by his side who took 
advantage of the disturbed state of the monarch's spirit, 
thrown off its balance by this gratuitous, most unmerited 
assault, to whisper to him counsels of wrath and reprisal, 
to increase their own importance by an exaggerated show of 
devotion and alarm, to urge him into a course of general 
suspicion and reaction, under pretence of insuring the 
safety of his person, endangered by his too confiding 
neglect of their previous advice if any such there were, 
Heaven forgive those men ! History will not, if she 
ever lays hold of their names. 

A passing misunderstanding ! Fifteen years blotted 
out of a country's life ! A couple of hundred years 
from now posterity will mention the name of Alexander 
II. with the reverence of a martyred saint, and place 
him in that galaxy of human satellites whose deeds still 
fill the world with radiance. But we are not posterity. 
We are burdened with affections which keep us down 
and prevent our soaring to a bird's-eye view of our own 
times ; so we see the accessories which will wane into the 
indistinct back-ground of the ages some day, but which 
stand out at present clear and mournful. A few hundred 
human lives sacrified may be a very paltry item ; hardly 
so to us, however, when they happen to be those of our 
brothers, our sons, our lovers, our friends of " our 
boys," in short. It is vain that history sternly points 
to other lands and other times, and reminds us thut with 
such as these, crushed, laid low, with all their budding 
promise, their splendid powers, their daring aspirations, 
the path of all human progress has been strewn, 



THE interest which I hope has been inspired in the 
reader by a perusal of the preceding pages, will, I trust, 
increase in the following chapters describing my observa- 
tions while in that most desolate, wild and so little 
known portion of the earth Siberia. 

Looking back to the time when I was first able to read 
imperfectly, I can remember my longings to visit, as an 
adventurer, that wonderful country, about which so many 
thrilling stories were told ; of its vast arctic expanse ; the 
homes of wretched exiles in eternal isolation from the 
world, as it were ; of packs of hungry wolves chasing or 
devouring travellers ; of how the wild boar and Russian 
bears are hunted, and many other printed relations des- 
criptive of Siberia's frozen wilderness. Year by year 
this desire intensified, until the outrages of Nihilism at 
last determined me upon a visit to Russia, and an inves- 
tigation of that subject naturally took me far into the 
interior of Siberia, w^here my ambitions were at length 
fully gratified. 

Before leaving St. Petersburg I learned by chance that, 
notwithstanding the correctness of my passport, it would 
be necessary for me to procure a special permit before en- 
tering Siberia, or it would be impossible for me to return 
again without putting our minister to the trouble of se- 
curing my liberation through official correspondence, 



which even might not 
be successful. After 
procuring such pass- 
port as was necesary 
I took the train for 
Moscow, where I 
spent several days 
viewing things of in- 
terest in that quaint 
| old capital. Among 
the many places of 
^special importance I 
c visited in Moscow 
was the celebrated 

< Central Prison, which 
g is a depot where is 
5 collected all offend- 

< ers whether political 
or otherwise who 


^ have been sentenced 
to exile in Siberia. 

< It must be remem- 
| bered that capital 
punishment is not 

< practiced in Russia 
| except for high trea- 
w son. Convicts for 

other high crimes are 
sentenced to varied 
terms of imprison- 
ment or banished to 
different parts of Si- 
beria according to 
the degree of crime ; 
vthe most dangerous 


criminals are sent far east to the mines ; others are 
confined in Siberian prisons, whilst those guilty of 
minor offenses are sent to swell penal colonies in vil- 
lages which are under police surveillance. But all pris- 
oners sentenced to Siberia are first brought to Moscow 
and lodged in the Central Prison, from whence they 
are taken under convoys, in relays of generally three 
hundred, to the place of banishment. 

This prison is constructed to hold twenty-five hundred 
convicts, a number which it not unfrequently contains. 
All the prisoners wear long, rough coats having an orange 
colored square patch sewn into the back. There are two 
yards, in one of which are the minor criminals unfet- 
tered, while in the other are those convicted of serious 
crimes ; these wear large chains on their feet attached to 
which is an iron ball weighing about twelve pounds. 

The saddest sights to bo witnessed at this prison are 
the wives and little children of the convicts, who have 
travelled many weary miles to say a last good-bye to those 
they love, or who have decided to accompany their rela- 
tives into exile. The number of wives who voluntarily 
join their husbands in banishment is truly astonishing, 
and is a striking exemplification of that truthful saying: 
4< Nothing can equal a woman's love." The parting 
scenes, witnessed almost weekly at this prison, are often 
inexpressibly sad, one of which I now recall only to re- 
awaken the sorrowful sympathy I then experienced. A 
young, handsome fellow who, I was told, was a political 
offender, had been brought to Moscow with a large party 
of prisoners four days before I saw him. While engaged 
with my interpreter making inquiries I was greatly 
startled by a sudden scream, when, upon looking around 
to discover the cause, I saw a young woman bearing a 
little babe on her left arm, while her right was clasped 



tightly about the young fellow's neck ; they were both 
crying and trembling in an agony of poignant grief. 

Amid choking sobs they talked in their native tongue, 
which to me was unintelligible, but I soon saw that the 
young raau was expostulating with the woman about 


something which only added to their already overwhelm- 
ing sorrow. My interpreter soon gained for me the par- 
ticulars, which were these : The young man was the hus- 
band of the woman and had been convicted in the city of 
Yaroslaf upon a charge of printing and circulating revo- 
lutionary literature, his sentence being hard labor in the 
Siberian mines for a period of ten years. When taken 
to Moscow the young wife was not permitted to accom- 
pany him on the train, but so strong was her attachment 
that she determined to see him at least once more, and 
gathering up her little girl babe, started alone, on foot, 
for Moscow, one hundred and seventy-five miles distant. 
Day and night she pushed as rapidly along as her feet 
could carry her with the burden of her child, fearing that 
she might not arrive before her husband's departure, 
until on the morning of the fourth day she reached Mos- 
cow and had the inexpressible satisfaction of greeting her 
shackled and grief-burdened husband. This meeting 
served only to increase their agony, for the wife insisted 
upon accompanying her husband into exile, while he, 
with feelings of wounded pride, could not consent, and 
bade her return home. I left them still clasped in each 
others' arms, crying bitterly, and never learned afterward 
whether or not the young wife became an exile for her 
husband's sake. Such incidents as these, however, are 
very common at the Central Prison, but they only pre- 
pared me for much more sorrowful sights which I was to 
witness in Siberia. 

Before leaving Moscow I went through the Kremlin, 
which is an immense wall, 7,280 feet in circumference, 
within which are many, in fact nearly all, the interesting 
features to be found by a visitor in the city. In 1812, 
when besieged by Napoleon, by command of Russia's 
greatest field marshal, Suwarrovr, all of Moscow was 





burned except within the Kremlin, but even this wonder- 
ful citadel did not escape injury, as several mines were 
sprung beneath it by the French. Napoleon took pos- 
session of the Kremlin and had his quarters in the palace, 
which is inside the walls, but there being no means for 
provisioning his army, he was compelled to retreat with 
the most disastrous results that are recorded in all 

The Kremlin is entered by five gateways, to each 
of which some tradition attaches. The " Redeemer's 
Gate" is the most important; over its arch is hung 
a picture of Christ, so ancient that no one knows its 
history ; many verily believe that it was hung over the 
gateway by the Madonna herself. It is told and believed 
by all devout Muscovites that the French tried to remove 
this picture because they thought its frame was solid gold ; 
to accomplish this, they placed ladders against the wall, 
but every attempt to mount was frustrated by the ladders 
breaking; they next tried to batter down the wall with 
cannons, but the powder would not ignite ; fires were 
then built under the cannons, but when they did explode, 
'it was backward, killing many artillerymen. They 
next tried to break the picture down with stones, but 
never a stone could bo made to strike it. It is a fact, that 
one of Napoleon's powder trains accidentally exploded 
near the gate, which destroyed many surrounding build- 
ings and cracked the tower and archway up to the holy 
image, but the picture and lamp which hung before it 
escaped injury. 

The buildings inside the Kremlin include churches, 
monasteries, jirsenals and museums, all of the Tartar style 
of architecture, surmounted by belfries, turrets, donjons, 
spires, sentry-boxes fixed upon- minarets, domes, watch- 
towers, etc., and having walls pierced with loop-holes 



and crenelated crowns after the fashion of fortresses in 
the middle ages, the whole presenting a picture of great 


variety and pleasing aspect. The best views of Moscow 
are obtained from the Sparrow Hills (from which Napo- 
leon first sighted the city), the tower, or from the Moskva 


Rekoi bridge, which crosses the Moskva river near the 
south wall. 

The great tower, Ivan Veliki, is 325 feet in height, 
which may be ascended by a succession of very steep, 
narrow stairways. It was erected by Boris Godunoff in 
the year 1600, and contains forty-three bells of various 
sizes, some of which are pure silver. The great bell, 
"Czar Kolokel," which was cast in 1730, was hung in 
the tower, but fell seven years later when the upper por- 
tion of the tower was burned. Its immense weight 
caused it to sink very deep into the earth, where it remained 
one hundred years, until Nicholas I. caused it to be 
mounted upon a pedestal where it still stands. This bell 
is twenty-one feet in height and weighs 400,000 pounds ; 
its value, estimated at the price for old metal, is 
$200,000. A large piece, broken out of the bell by the 
fall, lies beside it, and the clapper is in the chamber 

It was on Saturday, the 12th of August/that I left 
Moscow for Nijni Novgorod, in the company of Captain 
Spicer, of New London, Connecticut, and an interpreter 
named Smith, who is a native of Jersey City, New Jer- 
sey, but for the past seven years has been a resident of 
Moscow, where he acts as guide and interpreter for 
American visitors. Capt. Spicer was also enroute for Si- 
beria, being interested in the fur trade, and intending to 
explore northern Siberia in quest of fur-bearing animals. 
His company was very acceptable to me, for I saw only one 
other American while in Moscow, the Kev. John Hall, 
of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian church, New York 
City, who was spending his summer vacation in Russia ; 
and in Siberia I did not expect to meet with any one who 
could speak my language. 

The distance from Moscow to Nijni is 273 miles, which 


is accomplished by rail in 13 hours. I remained in Nijni 
over Sunday and Monday to attend the great fair which 
is held there annually from August 1st to October 1st ; 
though in ordinary times the town does not contain a 
population of more than 45,000, yet during the fair there 
maybe seen fully 200,000 persons here engaged in barter. 
The city, which is generally called Nijni, to distinguish 
it from Great Novgorod, appears to have been founded 
in 1222, and as early as 1366 fairs were annually held 
there. In 1641 a charter was granted to the Monastery 
of St. Macarius, 71 miles below the town, empowering the 
monks to levy taxes on the trade carried on at Nijni. This 
privilege they continued to enjoy, much to their gain, 
until 1751, when the trade, which was created by the 
fair, became so nearly free that the revenue, which now 
became the Government's, did not exceed $500. Statis- 
tics show that from 1697 to 1790 the value of the an- 
nual trade carried on at this fair increased from $60,000 
to $22,500 000, while now it is estimated at $80,000,000 

The town is situated on a hill at the very center of that 
water communication which joins the Caspian, Black, 
White and Baltic seas, besides it is the eastern terminus 
of the world's railway lines, and the point of contact of 
European industry and Asiatic wealth. Below Nijni is a 
vast bottom land over which flows in spring and winter 
the confluent waters of the Volga and Oka rivers. Dur- 
ing the summer season the waters recede, leaving this bot- 
tom of sand ready for the purpose to which it is so well 
adapted. Immediately a tattoo of hammers begins which 
ceases neither day nor night until the whole vast plain is 
covered with frame shanties of every conceivable descrip- 
tion, into which fabrics of every design and complexion 
are crammed ; the articles thus exposed at the fair come 





from all parts of the Empire as far east as Kamschatka, 
while China, Thibet, Hindoostan, Tartary, and even 
Japan are well represented when the fair opens. Such a 
conglomeration of sights and smells can be found at no 
other place in the world as in Nijni ; during the day-time 
there is a jam and bustle among buyers and sellers who 
crowd the sidewalks and streets, so that passage through, 
on foot, is almost impossible. Beggars, orpin-grinders, 
auctioneers, jugglers, performing bears, Punch and Judy, 
and an olla prodrida of jumbling jacks and catch-on-as- 
you-please kind of attractions are crowded in among the 
legitimate features of the fair. When night throws its 
shadows over the bustling scene, there is a magic change 
in the panorama ; a million lights blaze up and throw 
flickering rays, like dancing jimiii, over a weird en- 
semble. The shops are closed about ten o'clock to give 
place to a revelry of chaotic choruses. Open air concerts 
are on every side, in which the chief features are half- 
naked women howling bacchante songs and kicking at a 
space much above their heads. Among these depraved 
artistes Circassian girls are more numerous, those beauties 
of the Caucasus we read so much about, but who, in fact, 
are fair and luscious only at a distance of one thousand 
leagues from the observer. Polish girls are also plentiful 
in these bazaars of freedom, and as a class they are very 
handsome. I saw two negro women (who were from 
the West Indies) at one of the concerts, who attracted 
as much attention as an Indian Rajah would in the United 
States. They were rated far above ordinary mortals, and 
had for escorts distinguished government officials, who 
hung on their words like bumble bees on the honey of 
fresh clover blossoms. 

I perambulated around through the fair and night 
scenes until exhausted nature could perform no more, 



when I retired to a room in which there were already 
thirteen other occupants snoring off the potations they 


had indulged. I had an old quilt to repose on, which 
smelt like^a Dutch cheese factory freshly stirred up, au<J 


resembled the last assault in a Polish insurrection. But 
putting a clothes-pin on my nose, I lay down and slept 
with my eyes wide open to prevent being surprised by a 
lot of murderers, whom I very agreeably supposed the 
thirteen howling stump-suckers to be. 

My visit to Nijni proper was much pleasanter because 
I could not see so much. The town has a Kremlin in 
imitation of that in Moscow, a grim, loose-jointed citadel, 
having battlemented walls and mediaeval towers surround- 
ing a score or more of Byzantine churches with cupolas 
running up in bunches until their apexes terminate in 
gilded crosses. Most of these churches are wooden struc- 
tures, made in the ornate style peculiar to Russia and 
Turkey, adapted equally well for devotional exercises or 
a bonfire. 

All the large cities on the Volga (Samara alone ex- 
cepted), Saratof, Simbirsk, Kasan and Nijni-Novgorod, 
are situated on the picturesque and hilly side of the 
Volga that is, on its right bank, for the left bank is 
flat and featureless throughout. The only thing which 
distinguishes Nijni-Novgorod from the others is that its 
range of hills is higher and its situation consequently 
more imposing, while the intervening country between the 
village of Podnoveye and Nijni is eminently picturesque. 
Two white buildings, the Pajorski Monastery and the 
St. Mary's Institution for girls, are conspicuous amidst 
the varied foliage which surrounds them ; and the white, 
crenellated walls of the ancient kremlin, creeping up the 
precipitous slope of the hill, flanked here and there by 
small, square, minaret-shaped towers, with the old town 
reposing under the shadow of its Fortress and looking 
down serenely on the busy scene below, give to Nijni- 
Novgorod an appearance unique among Eussian cities. 
The town of Nijni consists of two parts the old town, 


nestling around its kremlin, and proudly disdainful of 
the commercial advantages offered it by the proximity of 
two great rivers ; and the new town, consisting of the 
new quays built along the right bank of the Oka, and 
the new streets which have sprung up behind them. 
When the fair is held at this town, the view from the 
Mouravieff Tower is perhaps the most remarkable in the 
world. There, embraced within the compass of a glance, 
is the whole scene of the Great Fair of Nijni-Novgorod. 
A huge, flat, sandy plain, flanked by two great rivers, is 
covered over with houses of different colors, mostly red 
and yellow, made of brick and wood and matting ; mil- 
lions of the world's richest merchandise stored or strewn 
in every direction ; barges warped along the quays of 
two rivers still busily engaged in unshipping their ex- 
haustless cargoes. At one glance you see all this. Ev- 
erywhere you meet outward signs of the devotion of the 
people, and, in all the hurry of business, a moujik never 
passes a shrine without stopping and making the sign of 
the cross. It will not be deemed strange, then, that the 
fair is opened by a grand religious ceremony in a church 
in the great square. 

I left Nijni at noon on Tuesday by steamer, for Perm, 
which is four days' journey, or about six hundred miles. 
The steamers which ply on the Volga are all named after 
North and South American rivers, but they resemble 
very little the steamers that are run on our American 
waters. Nearly every one in Russia travels third-class, so 
that there are three classes provided for, by building the 
boats with three cabins, one above the other. Our voy- 
age was a particularly delightful one, the weather being 
pleasant and our steamer moderately fast. The Volga 
is a large stream, but has a channel almost as treacher- 
ous as the Missouri, On each side there is a wide, level 


stretch of bottom, which is overflowed during spring 
time, until the river becomes ninny miles in width, which 
of course causes a constant change of channel. 

After a run of seventeen hours we landed at Kasan, a 
quaint, old, Asiatic looking town, full of Tartar people 
and Tartar customs, but I did not stop over, as nothing 
of special interest is to "be found in the place. Twenty 
miles below Kasan we came to the mouth of the Kama 
river, and here I was greatly reminded of the junction 
of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as the appearance 
is almost identical. We left the Volga and turned up 
the Kama at four o'clock in the afternoon, so that a 
beautiful view was afforded of the meeting of waters and 
a changing landscape. Our progress was now less rapid, 
for there was a strong current against us. The scenery, 
however, was more varied than that along the Volga, 
though at no place were there any high hills, such as we 
almost constantly pass on American rivers. 

We reached Perm on Saturday afternoon and were 
compelled to lie over until Monday morning, as no 
trains leave there on Saturday evenings. The town con- 
tains a mixed population of about 30,000 souls, whose 
principal occupation is handling ore ; there are several 
reduction works and also a Government mint in the place, 
giving employment to a large number of persons. Perm, 
though an old place, has grown to importance within the 
last ten years. Alexander II. conceived the construc- 
tion of a railroad across Siberia, and nearly all necessary 
arrangements for its building were completed, when his 
tragic death immediately stopped the enterprise. Sev- 
eral years had been spent by three different commissions 
who were sent to select the most feasible route across the 
Ural mountains. One of these commissions reported in 
favor of a route by way of Orenburg, which, it was 



strenuously claimed, would be more practicable bec 
of its southern position. The other commission in 

sisted that the passage at Nijni Tagilsk was preferable, 
besides it would prove immediately remunerative by 
reason of the large amount of mineral which would 


be shipped from the Demidoff mines at Ekaterineburg. 
These reports were followed by a long period of indecis- 
ion on the part of the Emperor, who finally spoke so 
favorably of both routes that he promised to give them 
government assistance. The construction of a railway 
from Perm was begun first, and in 1878 it was opened 
for traffic from Perm across the Urals to Ekaterineberg, a 
distance of three hundred miles. Work progressed 
more slowly on the southern route, and when the Em- 
peror died it ceased entirely, before any portion of the 
road was ready for business. 

Perm, like all other Eussian cities, is chiefly conspicu- 
ous for its churches, which abound on every side and are 
the most ornate feature of the place. 

I left Perm on Monday morning, and began my jour- 
ney across the Urals, which I had supposed were a range 
of high mountain peaks perpetually covered with snow. 
I was therefore very much astonished to find them hardly 
more than ordinary hills, the highest point in the range 
being only 5000 feet above sea level. The scenery was 
also very disappointing, as there was scarcely any veg- 
etation visible except a forest of slender pines, with 
here and there a larch that seemed too lonesome for 
healthy growth. 

At eight o'clock in the evening we had passed over 
the mountains, almost Avithout knowing it, and stopped 
at Nijni Tagilsk, where I left the train to visit the great 
Demidoff mines of copper, malachite and iron. This 
place, which is the gateway to Asia, lies within the Sibe- 
rian line, and is very prettily situated at the base of the 
Ural range. It is an important commercial town of sixty 
thousand inhabitants, most of whom are engaged in 
mining. Nearly all of Russia's iron is produced here, 
and among the manufactured products Russia-Iron (the 




process of which is a secret known only to Tagilsk man- 
ufacturers) is the principal article. Many years ago the 
mines were operated by convict labor, but Prince Demi- 
doff purchased them from the Government, since which 
time they have been worked by paid miners and forgers. 
There is a beautiful granite monument, surmounted by a 
bronze statue of Prince Demidl)f , in the southern part of 
the city. 

Remaining over at Tagilsk one day, I proceeded by 
rail to Ekaterineburg, which is another town built in an 
immense mineral district, but the principal product is 
malachite. From Tagilsk to Ekaterineburg the railroad 
runs along the mountain base ; on one side hills green 
with pines, and on the other a level plain stretching away 
until it meets the horizon, with scarcely an object to re- 
lieve its solitary wilderness of almost boundless expanse. 

The city contains a population of thirty thousand, 
but more Asiatic than Russian. I was rejoiced to find 
three Americans, residents of the place, with whom I be- 
came acquainted, much to my advantage. These mines, 
which also belong to the Demidoff descendants, are very 
interesting, particularly to those who have never wit- 
nessed malachite mining. This mineral, of which I never 
saw any specimens in America, is very precious, selling 
at the mines at from $1 to $5 per pound, according to 
the size of the pieces. When polished, the stone presents 
an almost emerald green and is very hard. 

The Demidoff s pay annually, in taxes to the Govern- 
ment and Commune, $100,000, and employ 50,000 la- 
borers. Before the emancipation they owned 56,000 
male serfs, a large number of whom still remain on their 
original estates and work in the mines, but receive ridic- 
ulously small pay, compared with wages in America. 
Common laborers roroivo about twenty cents a day ; pud- 
dlers seventy-five cents, and the best rollers $1.25* 


Siberia is rich in precious stones, and Ekaterineburg is 
famous for its lapidists. Very near the town are found 
beryl, topaz, aqua marine, chrysolite, and other gems of 
great beauty, which are cut and set by jewelers in the 
city and sold at prices which I regarded as wonderfully 


AFTER visiting the malachite mines in Ekaterineburg, 
I instructed my guide to engage a vehicle to carry us on 
to Tieumen, which was to be our next stopping place. 
He was gone for some time, and upon returning told me 
that it would be necessary to show my special permit to 
the authorities before a vehicle could be secured. Thus 
far I had only to show my regular passport, but now I 
produced the special permit given me at St. Petersburg. 
As the reading matter on it was in Russian (of which I 
was as ignorant as of the hieroglyphics on Cheops) I had 
little idea what request it contained. My guide, who 
could speak but not read the language, took the paper to 
an officer, who told us it was a, podorojna , or permit from 
the Government to pass freely in and out of Siberia, and 
also containing an order, addressed to all post-keepers, 
to facilitate me in my journey by providing such convey- 
ances as I might desire. We were now intelligently in- 
formed of what to do, so in the evening we engaged a 
larantass and yemstchik for our journey ; the former is a 
four-wheeled vehicle setting low like a phaeton, and hav- 
ing a large cover behind, which may be raised or lowered 
at will. It is light, but drawn by three horses, the mid- 
dle one working between shafts over which there is a 



douga, or broad bow, to which bells are often attached ; 
the outside horses work in traces, one of which is fast- 
ened to a shaft and the other to the end of the spindle, 
which extends about three inches outside the hub of the 
front wheel. Yemstchik simply means driver. 

I had engaged this outfit with the expectation of start- 
ing for Tieumen on the following morning, but this ar- 

O O O ' 

rangement did not suit either the owner or driver, who 
insisted on an immediate departure or pay for the time 


lost. It was now almost eight o'clock, but as Capt. 
Spicer, who was still with me, felt no hesitancy about 
proceeding at such an unseemly hour, we made ready and 
took our places in the vehicle. Our guide sat beside the 
yemstdiik, while Spicer and I occupied the one large seat 
inside. Before leaving, however, we contracted to pay 
two cents a verst, equivalent to three cents per mile, for 
the driver and conveyance, a sum which we thought was 
very cheap. 

The sun had now sunk well down behind the Ural hills 
I can't help calling them hills because they are nothing 
more when, with a crack of the whip and an expression 


which nothing but a Siberian horse could understand, we 
darted off in a cloud of dust, through the town and out 
upon the great waste of a Wonderful country. My feel- 
ings were not altogether pleasant, for so strange did 
everything appear that, despite myself, visions of wild 
Tartar hordes, under some modern Genghis Khan, would 
dart up in my imagination, to dispute our way ; or else 
an unfamiliar sound would strike my ear like the bark of 
a famished wolf calling his pack to the pursuit. 

Along we flew in a swift gallop without for a moment 
slacking pace, passing no one, nor having our imageries 
relieved by any pleasing scenery ; nothing but a level, 
illimitable expanse of prairie ; no farms, no baying dogs, 
no lowing cattle nor squeal ing swine ; the voice of nature 
was as mute as the songs of the dead. Thus we jour- 
neyed for more than two hours, when through the riven 
clouds there broke out a flood of moonlight by which we 
saw ahead the outlines of a house. It was the first post- 
station out of Ekaterineburg ; our yemstchik drove into 
the yard on a dash and then shouting stoi to his horses, 
he stopped with such suddenness that my companion and 
I were thrown forward against the driver's seat. 

We did not delay here long, taking only sufficient time 
to change horses and drink a glass of tea. In this con- 
nection I wish to say that no where in the world can 
such tea be had as in Russia or Siberia. I have drunk 
this delightful beverage in nearly all parts of the world, 
including San Francisco, where I indulged my love for it 
in a Chinese restaurant, and my opinion is that the Chi- 
nese make the poorest, while the Russians make the best 
tea to be found anywhere in the world. The excellence 
of the tea made in Russia is partly, if not wholly, due, 
as they themselves claim, to the fact that tea shipped 
over water loses much of its flavor aiid essential quality. 


All tea used in Russia is brought over-land from the 
Chinese provinces, generally packed in the shape of 
bricks and exposed to the atmosphere, there being a be- 
lief that if packed in cases it loses much of its natural 
excellence. Everybody drinks tea in Russia ; if you 
enter the home of either prince or peasant in that coun- 
try you are at once invited to drink tea. A vessel called 
a Samovar is in every house, which is kept constantly 
heated, in which tea is made always ready for use. Tea 
therefore is the great national drink ; but there is also a 
spirits, distilled from potatoes, called Vodka, which is 
something like the Irish poteen, that is a very popular 
drink among the peasantry and priesthood. So, whether 
entertained in the home of an IspravniJc a Russian Gov- 
ernor or stopping at a Siberian post-station, you will be 
called on to slake thirst, either in a tipple of vodka or a 
glass of tea tea cups are not used. 

After less than a half-hour's delay we were called to 
take our places in the vehicle again, when cheerily our 
driver cracked his whip over the fretting ponies' heads, 
and sent them off in a run that at first nearly took our 

It was now almost midnight, but still the gray streaks 
of day and bright lustre of a noble moon were with us. 
In fact at this season of the year there is scarcely any 
night in the latitude I was now travelling. Tired with 
so much pounding as I had been subjected to for 
several hours, my eyes grew languid, but it seemed that 
each time I began to doze, in my compulsory bolt up- 
right position, our driver would run us over a log 
with such disturbing force that I either plunged into my 
companion or he into me. In fact we had to keep awake 
that we might not butt one another's brains out. 

We continued in this rapid, hurly-burly, jerking, 



wretchedly uncomfortable style of traveling for forty-one 
hours, having changed horses about every two hours, 
when at last we reached Tieumen, which is two hundred 
and five miles from Ekaterineberg. I was so sore, stiff 

and exhausted 
when we arrived at 
Tieumen that I 
felt like a Fakir 
who, to do penance 
for some imagina- 
ry sin, assumes 
one position with- 
fgf out changing, un- 

rtil all his joints 
ossify and refuse 
to articulate. The 
first thing I want- 
ed was everything 
at once, viz. : a 
bath, something 
to eat, a bed, mus- 
tard plasters for 
my back and 
knees, ice- water to 
drink ; and above 
all, I wanted to 
know how to get 
back again to 
without having to 

pi|l!l|illjilin;;,JT:.!lU:lK.<nitBagpa:.;:i;.i .. ::::.> &!B ; i!!SBuSmiiiiiiSi;5lteigy 

travel in the manner I had come. 

Fortunately it was only a little after mid-day when we 
arrived, and dinner was ready ; so I quickly washed my 
face, after first rubbing a long, broad, deep crick out of 


my back so I could bend over, and then fell to with vo- 
racious greed to devour black-bread and salt. It's 
a way they have in that country. It must, undoubt- 
edly, be the product of some religious inspiration, 
for I can't imagine anything else potential enough to 
curtail the diet so extravagantly ; but whatever the cause, 
black-bread (which is eaten after a thick layer of salt is 
spread over it) and tea constitute almost the exclusive 
diet of the native Siberians. By dint of expostulation 
and particularly by promises of a large reward, I ob- 
tained a piece of steak, which was as succulent and tender 
as any I ever before ate. It is astonishing how these 
people subsist on so limited a diet, and my wonder was 
all the more increased when I learned that choice steaks 
can be had for four cents a pound, while fish are even 
cheaper. There is very little agriculture in Siberia, the 
occupations chiefly followed being mining, inn keeping, 
fishing and raising stock. Immense herds of horses and 
cattle roam all over the country, the property of herds- 
men who raise them for export, home consumption 
being scarcely thought of. 

I was so completely used up, so to speak, that after 
dinner I called to the landlord to show me a bed, into 
which I soon cast my wearied body and soul. After a 
two hours' rest, I awakened and, though still in an ex- 
hausted condition, reflected upon how precious was my 
time, arose, took another glass of tea, and sauntered out 
into the city in quest of information. 

Tieumen is situated on the Tura river, which flows by 
the Tobol into the Irtysh and Obi, and it is at this point 
that steamboat conveyance is taken to those rivers, and 
to the towns of Tobolsk, Omsk and Tomsk. The town 
is subject to great overflows every spring when the ice 
breaks up, and gorging below the bridge sometimes 




inundates the whole city. It has a population of 16,- 
000, with thriving manufactories of iron, earthenware, 
glass, cloth, carpets and leather; but the houses are 
mostly built of wood, and the place has a mean and 
dreary aspect. It is in one respect the most import- 
ant town in western Siberia, for it is here that all 
the prisoners are first brought before their distri- 
bution to the penal settlements and mines further east. 
There is one building in the city, devoted to educa- 
tional purposes, which cost $100,000, and is the finest 
structure in all Siberia ; two specially important facts 
connected with this institution are, that it was built by a 
man who started with nothing, has acquired a large 
fortune in Siberia, and donated the building to the 
Government ; the other peculiarity is found in the build- 
ing being furnished throughout with American furniture, 
as is also the home of the liberal donor. 

I found also here in Tieumen an American gentleman 
who very kindly introduced me to the Governor and sev- 
eral other functionaries, with whom I became intimate 
enough to announce the object of my visit and to request 
of them such information as I needed. 

To a question which I asked the Governor respecting 
the origin of punishment of offenders by exile, he made 
answer : 

44 1 do not know exactly when the practice begun, but 
a well-known writer, M. Reclus, says the first degree of 
banishment was promulgated by Boris Godunoff when, in 
1591, he sent nearly five hundred of the Uglitch insur- 
rectionists into exile, locating them not far from Tieu- 
men. This story, however, is more traditional than his- 
torical, though it may be true. But it is an established 
fact that near the close of the seventeenth century several 
thousand of Little Russians, who had revolted in the 


Ukarine and were overcome by Great Russia, were sent, 
in chains, to various parts of Siberia. After this, trans- 
portation for all manner of serious offenses became com- 
mon. A large number of religious dissenters, with their 
families, were deported in 1682, and compelled to settle 
in the Baikal district. Peter the Great also banished 
many of the Strelitz, a tribe from southern Russia, who 
were so wedded to bows and arrows that they refused to 
use any other arms. They caused no little trouble by 
their treachery, and finally rebelled against their sov- 
ereign. During the reign of Elizabeth many distin- 
guished persons, accused of political unfaithfulness, were 
sent to the far eastern provinces, among whom were 
Tolstoi, Munich, Menchikoff, Dolgornki, Biron, &c., 
who were afterward permitted to return. In 1758 began 
the first deportation of Poles, but under Catharine II. 
thousands of these unhappy people were thrust in to exile. 
Nine hundred, who had served under Napoleon, were 
convicted of treason and sent to the Yakoutsk district. 
In 1826 three thousand Decembrists, who tried to assas- 
sinate Nicholas and provide a constitution, were sent to 
Siberia, followed in 1830 by a deportation of 80,000 

The original idea of Godunoff , which was to use Si- 
beria as a place of punishment, grew into a fixed purpose 
under Nicholas I. and Alexander II., to not only banish 
offenders merely to punish them, but to make banishment 
a means for settling Siberia. They very correctly argued 
that here was a larger portion of the Empire, rich in min- 
erals and boundless in agricultural possibilities, lying idle 
because none would settle in it. They therefore con- 
cluded to enforce an industrial occupation of the cauntry. 
To this end not only were murderers and political offend- 
ers sent to Siberia, but colonies were established by the 


deportation of those guilty of petty crimes. A privilege 
was given the peasantry to establish village courts, called 
Zemsta, to which they might summon, or forcibly take, 
any one of their number charged with being untrue or im- 
provident, incorrigibly bad, lazy, a common drunkard, or 
village nuisance, and upon conviction he could be sent to 
Siberia. This practice was very extensive a few years 
ago, and is not uncommon now. Such convicts, how- 
ever, are not held, as prisoners, to any special labor, but 
are sent to increase colonies that pursue any calling they 
choose to obtain a living. 

The Governor further told me that there are thirty- 
four offenses punishable by transportation to Siberia. 
The first and greatest crime in Russia is treason, which 
is punished by execution, but for no other crime is the 
death penalty inflicted. The following offenses are pun- 
ished by exile : insubordination to lawful authority ; 
stealing official documents ; .escape or abetting the es- 
cape of prisoners ; embezzlement of Government funds ; 
forgery; blasphemy (though it is a dead-letter law); 
dissent and heresy (rarely enforced) ; sheltering or 
giving aid to escaping convicts ; counterfeiting ; being 
taken on suspicion and found without a passport ; va- 
grancy, coupled with suspicious conduct; murder or 
accessory thereto ; attempted suicide ; mayhem ; assault 
with deadly weapon ; seduction and rape ; subornation ; 
illegal holding or transfer of property ; arson ; burglary ; 
theft ; horse-stealing ; debt ; dishonoring the Emperor's 
name ; assuming false titles ; beastiality ; usury or extor- 
tion (rarely enforced, though a common offense) ; eluding 
military service; smuggling; illicit distilling; and the 
practices of the Scoptsi, of which I will write fully here- 
after, when describing their settlement. 

I was told that for the past ten years, the number of 




exiles sent annually to Siberia was about 20,000, of 
which 12,000 are sent to the eastern district under sen- 
tence of hard labor in the mines. I was permitted to 
visit the Tieumen prison, in which there were confined 
nearly five hundred prisoners, awaiting orders to be sent 
further east. Of these five hundred there were nearly 
one hundred who could read and write. This indicates 
the intelligence of the criminals sent into exile. It is a 
statistical fact that of Russia's entire population only 
five per cent, can read and write, the lowest average of 
education to be found in any civilized country on the 
globe. Now, when we compare this fact with the prison- 
ers at Tieumen, of whom twenty per cent, could read 
and write, we are forced to the irresistible conclusion 
that Russia's criminals are from her best educated peo- 

All prisoners sent from Moscow are taken by rail to 
Nijni-Novgorod, where they embark on a barge, which 
is towed by steamer to Perm. This barge is built ex- 
pressly for the purpose and will carry from seven to eight 

From Perm they are transported by rail to Ekaterine- 
berg, and from that point they are taken to Tieumen by 
wagons. Why they are not required to walk this latter 
distance I cannot understand, particularly since beyond 
Tieumen the prisoners are compelled to walk to what- 
ever place they are destined, which is not generally less 
than 2,000 miles further east. Sometimes it occurs that 
there is special haste to get the prisoners to or 
Yakoutsk mines, before severe weather begins in the fall, 
and for purposes of expedition they are taken by barge 
on the Irtysh and Obi to Tomsk, from which latter place, 
however, they must walk voluntarily or be driven like 
refractory brutes under the stinging lash. 


On the morning after my arrival in Tieumen, as I had 
been told by the Governor the previous evening, a party 
of three hundred prisoners were taken out of their 



stockade and started to Chita, which is a penal settle- 
ment in the Trans-Baikal. It was raining very hard, but 
the element* were not permitted to interfere with the 


programme. About fifty soldiers acted as convoy-guard, 
who marched out on foot in two files with the exiles be- 
tween them, followed by weeping women and a large 
number of curious citizens. At the suburbs of the place 
horses were in waiting for the soldiers, but there was 
nothing but a hard, foot journey before the unfortunate 
prisoners, about one-third of whom carried heavy chains 
on their wrists and ankles. I was affected almost to 
tears by the sight, every phase of which was inexpres- 
sibly sad. 

I stayed over at Tieumen one day longer to gather 
some additional facts and wait for more clement weather. 
Capt. Spicer had intended to leave me here and start by 
tarantass northward, but concluded to accompany me to 
Tobolsk, where he could take a steamer on the Irtysh, 
and have a journey to the Grulf of Obi, from which point 
he decided to begin skirting Siberia across to Kam- 
schatka. On the following day we engaged a new kind of 
conveyance, as from appearance it promised more com- 
fort than we had found in the tarantass. This vehicle 
was what the Russians call a tumbril; I suppose they de- 
rive the name from the English tumble, because it goes 
tumbling over the road like an acrobat, bounding up in 
dreadful jerks and coming down like a pile driver. 

A small steamer plies between Tieumen and Tobolsk, 
but at uncertain intervals, and gets through with greater 
uncertainty, so we adopted the overland route and started 
about three o'clock in the afternoon. The road was 
very muddy and our progress slow, which saved us from 
the sore affliction we suffered in the rapid tarantass. At 
thejirst station we halted to change"horses, the post- 
. keeper told us that the roads were almost impassable and 
that a creek, five versts further on, was- so swollen that 
crossing would be very dangerous. Nevertheless we con- 




eluded to push on and meet whatever adventure chance 
might visit upon us. We drove with all possible speed, 
in order to reach the creek before darkness set in, as ab- 
sence of light always multiplies dangers. We ar- 
rived at the stream about seven o'clock and found it 
rushing madly over its banks, carrying driftwood of logs, 
trees, brush, etc., so that our resolution gave way and we 
thought of returning to the' post-station to spend the 
night. Before deciding finally, however, a moujiJc local 
resident peasant appeared , whom we accosted and asked 
if there were any ferry-boat available that could set us 
across. He admitted that much danger would be in- 
curred in an attempt to pass the stream, but agreed to 
get a boat, which lay moored one mile further up the 
creek, and set us over for five roubles. This proposition 
at once decided us, and without further delay we drove 
up to where the boat lay and prepared to embark. The 
boat was a flat scow with gunwales not more than a foot 
out of water, and that it had been put to much service 
was evidenced by the rot that had struck in and weakened 
every board about it. The horses were so tractable, for- 
tunately, that no difficulty was experienced in getting 
afloat. The moujik used a long pole to push the boat 
off, but once getting started, our frail craft begun to 
spin around like leaves in a whirlwind. It now looked 
doubtful about getting across without swimming, but 
manfully we all pushed with poles, by which we managed 
to near the opposite shore about six miles below the point 
from whence we started. Prospects were brightening 
every moment, when suddenly our boat struck a pro- 
jecting log they are called sawyers by Mississippi 
river pilots and before we could shift our cuds of to- 
bacco, over we went, tumbril, horses and men, into the 
water, while the boat, bottom side up, went on down the 


stream, still spinning around like a graceful coquette who 
has just jilted her lover. It so happened that the water, 
where we were capsized, was not more than three feet 
deep, and we were able to keep our feet. My first act 
was to grab two of the horses by their bridles, while 
Capt. Spicer and our two men seized the tumbril and 
righted it ; by skilful and instantaneous action we pre- 
vented the horses from becoming tangled, and soon had 
the satisfaction of getting on shore with no other incon- 
venience than wet clothing. But our more serious diffi- 
culty was yet to come, for it had now grown quite dark 
and was still threatening rain. We had landed and were 
on solid earth, but our surroundings were something like 
the jungles of Central Africa. There was no semblance 
of a road leading out of this swampy, brush-grown place, 
nor did we have so much as a match to light our way. 
But, figuratively speaking, shutting our eyes and trusting 
to Providence, we started the horses along in the direc- 
tion we supposed the road lay. After about one hour or 
more of this delightful pic-nicing excursion in the garden 
of the gods, we found ourselves lost. I had a compass 
in my pocket, but it might as well have been on top of 
the north-pole, for having neither a light nor the eyes of 
a nocturnal varmint, we " couldn't see the point." With 
nothing but wet clothes and wetter blankets our condi- 
tion was similar to that which the man fell into who in- 
vented a new oath. But, as if dissatisfied with our cir- 
cumstances, old Pluvius pulled out the stop-cocks of 
heaven and deluged us with a rain of nearly six hours 
duration, while the frogs, between dashes of rain, croaked 
all manner of requiems around about us. If a pack of 
wolves had descended upon us about this time I would 
have gladly assisted them to ravish my body, and yet 
every strange sound that seemed to presage an attack 


from these chronically hungry desperadoes, produced a 
momentary fear that made us forget our other misery. 

Nothing could be done except face the artillery of mis- 
fortune, so we unhitched the horses and made them fast 
to our vehicle. Then came the rub of standing round 
and taking turns in saying such bad words as a distressed 
soul may be inspired to utter under the circumstances. 

Morning broke at last, but such a morning as would 
shame creation, for the rain still poured down, until what 
wasn't mud was water, and what wasn't water was a dis- 
tillation of exquisite melancholy. Frozen and drowned 
though we were, there was still enough aggravation left 
hi our natures to stimulate us to renewed endeavors to 
get out of the woods or purgatory, which is a more 
appropriate term. 

So confused were we by the desperate experience un- 
dergone that wretched night that it was late in the after- 
noon before we found the road again, and when we did 
tind it there was nothing to make us proud except the 
realization that we still lived. Through mud up to the 
axles we plodded along, hungry, exhausted, wet, mad and 
intensely miserable, until twelve o'clock the following 
night before reaching the next station. So thoroughly 
worn out was I that upon entering the station I threw 
myself upon a bench and did not stir again until morn- 
ing, though the master tried every way to arouse and 
direct me to a comfortable bed. The opiate of exhaus- 
tion was so powerful, in fact, that I no longer felt the 
wet clothes that were on me, or took time to wish I was 
in dear America. 

Renewing our journey about noon, the sun came out 
again, and we gradually forgot the miseries through 
which we had passed and began to find, one by one, some 
little pleasures in life. The roads also gradually became 


more tolerable, while along the highway we met occa- 
sional groups of Tartars, and passed through Tartar vil- 
lages which presented many whimsical characteristics. 
In Siberia (where less than one-fifth the population is 
Russian) as in Russia, we found images of the Madonna 
hung up over doors, in windows, on walls, nailed to 
posts, strung up before ordinary village notices, and, in 
short, we found them everywhere, while little candles 
were burning before them all. The Tartars are very nu- 
merous throughout Siberia and are proud of their history, 
which is crowded with adventure and red with blood. 
They are the same people as those who, under Genghis 
Khan, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, over- 
ran all of northern Asia and then penetrated Russia, 
striking the Muscovites such strong blows that they al- 
most accomplished the conquest of that nation. 

The Tartar women still hold to the ancient Moslem 
practice of wearing veils over their faces when strangers 
are near, which, I must say, is very kind of them, for as 
a stranger I speak, who having seen some few Tartar 
faces, am very thankful that I was not permitted to see 
more ; a Chinese god is beautiful when brought in com- 
parison with the most distinguished Tartar belle. 


TOBOLSK is but little more than one day's journey 
from Tieumen by steamer, but we encountered so many 
difficulties that it was more than two days before we 
reached the city, though the distance by land is but little 
more than half what it is by water. 

I had now reached one of the great Siberian prisons, 



and my investigations became more interesting here be- 
cause of immediate contact with some initiatory horrors 
which previous study and reading had partly prepared 
me for. 

Tobolsk is a city of nearly 40,000 inhabitants and was 
the first capital of 
Siberia, the whole of 
that enormous terri- 
tory being acquired 
in seventy years of 
the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The town was 
originally built on a 
high hill, having pre- 
cipitous sides, and 
around it was a strong 
wall over the ramp- 
arts of which still 
glisten and frown 
several large cannons. 
Entrance to this part 
of the city is through 
fortress gates, to 
gain which passage 
must be made up a 
steep, winding road- 
way. As the town 
grew, for lack of 
space on the hill, 
building began on the 
plain below, until now the lower portion of the city is larger 
and more regularly built than that on the hill. 

The population of Tobolsk is composed of Eussians, 
Tartars and Germans, the latter race being much more 


numerous than circumstances permitted me to believe 
until I had thoroughly convinced myself. They are an 
object of bitter prejudice to the Russians, who very fre- 
quently visit upon them rank injustice ; knowing this, I 
was very much surprised that the Germans composed 
nearly one-sixth of the entire population. Being some- 
what familiar with the German language, I found it now 
very serviceable to me, for I secured introductions to 
several prominent persons of that nationality who took 
much pains to make my visit both pleasant and profitable. 

In Upper Tobolsk is a fine and celebrated cathedral, 
near which is hung on a tripod the Ugtitch bell, with 
which is connected a singular history, to this effect : The 
bell was orginally in the turret of a cathedral in Uglitch, 
Russia, where, for many years, it called the faithful to 
assemble for worship. But in 1591 a great insurrection 
took place in Uglitch, against the Czar Godunoff, on 
which occasion the rebels used this bell to signal their 
uprising and attack upon the Goverment officers. These 
insurrectionists were very strong in numbers, and were 
not overpowered for several months, but when their sub- 
jection was at last accomplished, Boris Godunoff issued 
an order of punishment against the bell, in obedience to 
which it was thrown down from the turret, its ears were 
broken off, and then a company of men were made to 
publicly flog it. To this was added a decree of banish- 
ment, so that the bell was taken, with several thousand 
of the insurrectionists sent into exile, to the district of 
Tobolsk. The disgrace which thus fell upon the bell for 
aiding the rebels, has been so far removed now that it is 
again used for calling Muscovites to prayers. 

There is very little of interest to be seen in Tobolsk 
outside the prisons, which are three in number, and gen- 
erally contain from 1,000 to 1,200 prisoners. They are 


located near a large pleasure garden, and directly under 
a commanding view from the fortress. I managed to 
secure an introduction to the chief prison guard, who 
being able to speak a little German readily answered such 
inquiries as I addressed to him, and also, after much per- 
suasion and the gift of several roubles, finally gave me 
permission to go inside the prisons. This privilege was 
much more than I had expected, but I soon learned from 
experience that a few roubles, judicously used, could be 
made a magical sesame that would open any door in 

The buildings are of brick with small, square win- 
dows, provided with double glass to keep out the cold. 
As I entered, two guards stepped forward with fixed bay- 
onets and followed me wherever I went in the prison. 
The chief officer also accompanied me, and from him I 
learned that Tobolsk was formerly the station to which 
all hard -labor convicts were sent, but as mines became 
developed further east the prisons here are now used to' 
confine convicts one year before sending them eastward ; 
it is only a comparatively small number who are de- 
tained at Tobolsk at all, those in confinement being crim- 
inals who have committed some new offense while on the 
transport route, or convicts who have been retaken after 
an attempt to escape. 

Large workshops adjoined the prisons, in which all 
those able to labor were busily employed ; there were 
shoemakers, tailors, wagon-makers, cabinet-makers, etc. 
All these were compelled to perform a certain amount of 
labor each day or be knouted, which is no more than a 
playful frolic between the floggerand his victim accord- 
ing to Mr. Lansdell, the philanthropist. This method of 
punishment, though ostensibly abolished, is inflicted on 
some poor convict at the Tobolsk prisons every day, as 



several citizens assured me. A gentleman who had wit- 
nessed several such floggings, described the process as 


follows : The culprit is taken to a room where there is 
a large pillar, to which two rings are attached at an ele- 


vation of about seven feet from the floor. Here he is 
stripped entirely, but ti light cloth is placed about his 
loins, not as an act of clemency, however, but of de- 
cency ; the poor victim, now panting and quivering at 
the ordeal which he anticipates, is then bound about the 
wrists with strong cords which are drawn up and fastened 
to the rings, raising him almost off his feet. Two pro- 
fessional floggers now enter the room in response to a 
summons, bearing knouts in their hands. These instru- 
ments of torture, rather than punishment, are composed 
of several rawhide thongs bound together at one end in a 
handle one foot long ; each thong terminates in a knot, 
which serves the purpose of giving additional force to 
each stroke and of greatly increasing the punishment by 
bruising the flesh where each knot strikes. The floggers 
begin their work generally by flourishing the knout sev- 
eral times about their heads without striking the victim, 
so as to take him by surprise, as it is believed a keener 
agony is produced by striking when the victim is least 
expecting it. When the whipping begins, ho\\ 7 ever, it is 
laid on by the floggers alternately, who strike all over the 
body, so as to produce the largest surface of suffering. 
With every stroke either several great blue welts rise un- 
der the thongs, or, if the flesh be particularly tender, 
gashes are made from whence streams of blood pour. 
But it is said there is less suffering from cuts than 
bruises, the former healing up rapidly, while the latter 
not infrequently fester and cause an illness from which 
many die. There are hundreds of instances, however, 
where men and women have died under the administra- 
tion, and in nearly all cases where as many as one hun- 
dred lashes are given, the victim becomes unconscious 
and does not revive for hours afterward. 

Among the workmen I noticed not a few who wore 



chains similar to those I saw on the prisoners at Moscow. 
Upon inquiry respecting the cause of this, an intelligent 
guard told me, through my interpreter, that the prison- 
ers thus subjected to additional punishment were crimi- 
nals who had been convicted of aggravated offenses, such 
as unprovoked murder or serious political crimes, and 
that the sentence they were under was hard labor for a 
long period of years (or for life) and without mercy. 

Through curiosity I approached 
very near a half-dozen or more 
of these shackled convicts, so 
that the effects of their chains 
were plainly visible ; in some 
instances large abrasions were 
noticed on their wrists, which 
must have given extreme pain, 
while in others the flesh under 
the galling irons was so black 
as to give an appearance of 
mortification. I could not 
discover what effect the heavy 
anklets had, as large, extreme- 
ly coarse socks hid the flesh, 
but from outward indications I should judge the 
ankles were badly swollen. When at work, the wrists of 
these convicts were bound with a chain which gave 
about two feet of free action to the hands, but when not 
at labor the wrists were brought together and fastened ; 
in addition to this, a strong leathern strap was attached 
from the wrist bindings to double chains on the legs and 
ankles, so that the hands were confined in one position ; 
hard labor was far more preferable than idleness, when 
bound in such heartless manner. 

Women convicts were subjected to as severe treatment 



as the men, except their labor was hardly so taxing. 
They were chiefly employed scouring the prisons, cook- 
ing, and washing clothes, hut I noticed a few who were 
engaged in making baskets and polishing leather. Their 
sex did not exempt them from the knout or plele. This 
latter instrument of punishment is made of several short 
but thick birches tied together atjone end, the others be- 
ing left loose so as to strike in several places on the flesh 
at each blow. 

Having passed through the prisons, I had now seen 
quite enough of Tobolsk, and made my preparations to 
leave for Tomsk. Capt. Spicer had already left me the 
day after our arrival in Tobolsk, taking steamer for 
some destination on the Obi, which he himself had not 
finally decided upon. The guide whom we had employed 
at Moscow also accompanied him, to my great satisfac- 
tion, for I had long since learned that, besides knowing 
but little of the Russian language, he was incontinently 
stupid, and his services were by no means satisfying. 
Capt. Spicer, however, was an old Arctic whaler, and 
was now going among the Esquimaux, whose tongue he 
could speak ; he was therefore content to take the guide 
with him as a servant. 

I had no difficulty in securing another interpreter in 
the person of a German named Sehieuter, who was a res- 
ident of Tobolsk, speaking the Bii, Tartar, Samoyede, 
Giiyak, and other languages m*d by the various tribes of 
north and eastern Siberia ; be had also made several trips 
the continent, and was well versed in all the ehar- 
of both country and people. This engage- 
a particularly fortunate one, for through 
Sebleoter I obtained much information which, without 
his services, most have remained undisclosed to me. 

My experience with the taraatass and the tumbril, 


I must confess, greatly prejudiced me, against them as 
modes of conveyance, and as there was a tri-weekly ser- 
vice of paddle-wheel steamers between Tobolsk and 
Tomsk, I decided to travel to the latter city by boat. 
Accordingly, in obedience to my instructions, Schleuter 
purchased such things as we might need on the trip, and 
on Wednesday afternoon we embarked for a six days' 
voyage to Tomsk. As we backed out into the stream 
the Irtysh River a beautiful view of Tobolsk was had, 
reminding me of the appearance 1 had conceived of mid- 
dle'century castles inhabited by the lords of rich manors, 
with hundreds of outbuildings for the shelter of their 
subjects. This creation was intensified by a recollection 
of the country in which I was now traveling, and by 
the peculiar features and faces that surrounded me. 

There were perhaps one hundred and twenty-five pas- 
sengers on the steamer, but of this number not more 
than twenty occupied first-class accommodations. My 
interpreter was quite willing to travel second-class (the 
fare being fourteen roubles), but I preferred that he 
should go first-class so that I might have the benefit of 
his company constantly, particularly as the first-class fare 
was only twenty roubles ($10.00). But this passage 
money did not include table fare, which amounted to 
about $1.25 each per day. 

I have seen no little gambling in my life, but never 
before did I make a journey on a steamer where all the 
passengers were gamblers. As all Russia is a tea drink- 
ing nation, so are all Russian subjects inveterate card 
players. In fact the national laws foster gaming, for 
the Government has a monopoly of card manufacturing, 
the revenue from which is applied to the support of the 
foundling asylums at Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

JSight and day all the passengers, men and women , 


were busily engaged throwing cards in a game I never 
saw played before, but which resembled "Napoleon," 
a game quite common in England, in which the players 
lay wagers on how many tricks they can take. 

But except at night, when I backed Schleuter in a 
game, I was too much interested in the scenery to take 
any interest in cards. After we passed out of the Irtysh 
into the Obi river our steamer made more frequent land- 
ings and an opportunity was had to learn something of 
Northern Siberia. At the towns of Shapsink, Sahabinsk, 
Sol kin and Surgat we met hundreds of Ostjaks, who 
are a race of people inhabiting the northern portion of 
the Tobolsk and Tomsk Governments. They live by 
fishing and hunting, chiefly by the former, and are as 
filthy in their person as the Digger Indians of New Mexico. 
They swarmed about our boat wherever we landed and 
besought the passengers to buy their fish and game ; ducks 
they sold at ten kopecks (five cents) a brace ; grouse at 
fifty kopecks (twenty-five cents) a pair ; while fish were 
so cheap that an American would not receive them as 
a gift and peddle them at a Negro barbecue at such 
prices ; sturgeons, which is perhaps the best fish found 
in Siberian waters, were offered at t\vo kopecks (one 
cent) per pound, or a fish weighing ten pounds might 
have been purchased, by a little higgling, for about sevea 
cents. Many other species of fish were offered at one- 
half cent per pound. 

These Ostjaks take all their fish from the upper streams 
in winter time, their mode of fishing being as follows: 
A hole is cut through the ice, over which a spring rod is 
placed, having several lines and baited hooks. Little 
balls of clay are heated and thrown into the stream, which 
cause the fish to rise from hollow beds in the river, where 
they collect in schools. When the fish move out of their 



places they invariably swim some distance up stream at 
which time they see the bait and take it with great vora- 


ciousness. Sometimes a dozen lines set in this way will 
take as many as a dozen fish at one time. After the fish 


are caught they are packed and frozen, in which condi- 
tion they are sent to all parts of Russia, or sold at inns 
and to passengers along the steam or post-routes. 

The Ostjaks, who number about 30,000, inhabit that 
portion of Siberia lying between the rivers Irtysh and 
Obi, and as far north as Obdorsk. They are nomadic 
and live in a diffused state in tents which they call 

The Obi is a stream of considerable width, and its 
course lies through a plain without even once passing a 
moderate sized hill. The scenery is therefore very mo- 
notonous, and but for the peculiar people met with there 
would be nothing on the water-route between Tobolsk 
and Tomsk 1,600 miles to excite the least interest. 


WE arrived at Tomsk late Tuesday night, and so anx- 
ious was I to leave the steamer, which had been little 
more than a prison to me, that I called to Schleuter and 
had him prepare for immediate debarkation. We en- 
gaged a droshky and drove to a hotel, the Russian name 
of which I have forgotten, but in English it was the 
Tomsk Tavern, so my interpreter told me, kept by a 
pleasing old fellow whose patronymic Honkhominiski 
I could not well forget, because it is so suggestive of 
hog and hominy. 

I was shown to a room in the hotel, the furniture of 
which was principally icons and candles. I might call 
them images, but not in the presence of a Russian, unless 
I wanted to insult him ; an icon, therefore, needs some 
explanation. The religious Muscovite i* technical to a, 


point of punctilliousness ; he observes that biblical in- 
junction which forbids the making of idols or .images for 
worship ; but his construction of the divine command is, 
to say the least, about as badly mixed as was the Irish- 
man who attended the accouchment of a double-headed 
calf. A farmer coming by noticed Pat at work with the 
calf, which he quickly observed was a freak of nature, 
and addressed him : " Well, Pat, that is rather a singu- 
lar lusus naturae, the like of which I never before wit- 

"Begorrah," responded the puzzled Hibernian, " that's 
a noble name for sich a brhute ; I was afther callin' ov it 
a badly mixed calf." 

In order to avoid conflict with the command, and at 
the same time secure his image, the Russian icon maker 
first paints a picture of either Christ, the Madonna, or 
whatever holy patriarch he desires to represent, and then 
makes a bas-relief investiture, so that the clothing is a 
relief image, while those portions which represent the face, 
hands or feet are only painted on a flat back-ground. 
This hybrid image the Russians call an icon, and they 
believe with all their devout credulity that it is neither a 
graven image nor the representation of an image. It is 
only necessary to add that Russian religion is founded 
upon faith alone without works. 

Surrounded by so much holiness, I slept with sound- 
ness until Peter's cock split its throat crowing, and the 
sun had started the bees on their third trip to the clover 
blossoms metaphorically, of course, as there is no clover 
in Siberia. Starting out into the city about ten o'clock, 
the first thing that arrested my attention was what Rus- 
sians call a gostinnoi dvor, a market-place where are sold 
all the vegetable products of Siberia, and many others 
raised in Russia. I was very much entertained passing 



through the numerous stalls making a hurried inspection 
of the things on sale, and those who were bartering. 
Around the market there is a large open space in the cen- 
ter of which stands a handsome little chapel with white 

and gilt sides and 
a beautiful blue 
dome representing 
the starlit canopy 
of heaven. 

There are two 
prisons in Tomsk, 
both of which are 
low, brick build- 
ings, perpetually 
damp and foul with 
miasmatic exhala- 
tions, owing to the 
boggy character of 
the soil over which 
they are built. 
One of these pris- 
ons is used as a de- 
tention building, 
in which prisoners 
on the way east 
a r e temporarily 
confined, from one 
day to one week, 
according as occa- 
sion may require. 
In the other prison, criminals sent into exile for short 
terms are confined. These perform little labor, and they 
are kept in such close quarters that inaction affects them 
seriously.. Through the kindness of a local charity, a 


school has recently been established for the benefit of 
the prisoners and their children, but comparatively few 
avail themselves of the benefit which it affords. There 
is a reason for this which I did not understand at first. 
The prisoners confined at Tomsk are only those con- 
victed of petty crimes, whose sentence does not exceed 
four } r ears, and even this does not extend beyond mere 
confinement ; naturally, such convicts are from a class so 
densely ignorant that intelligence is repugnant ; they 
never have spirit to do more than snatch a pocket-book, 
assassinate some unsuspecting person, or assault a female. 

There are no political convicts at Tomsk, and as it was 
this class I was more particularly desirous of seeing, my 
stay in that town was limited to a single day. 

We were now at the terminus of water communication 
eastward, of which fact I was not disposed to grumble, 
because steamboating in Siberia can only be compared for 
discomfort, to travelling by tarantass or tumbril ; when 
you are on one, you invariably wish you were on the 
other ; so, having just left a steamer, I was glad to get a 
tumbril. Schleuter had no difficulty in engaging a ve- 
hicle of this character, and being himself familiar with 
the highway, we concluded to dispense with the services 
of a yemstchik (driver) and go through to Krasnoiarsk, 
which is distant from Tomsk about three hundred miles, 
without any auxiliaries. Having completed arrange- 
ments, we started from Tomsk in the morning with a de- 
termination to reach Krasnoiarsk within two clays' travel- 
ling. Schleuter was a good driver, and he knew just 
how much speed to get out of three Siberian ponies 
abreast. When we reined up at the first station, our 
horses were in a foam but they still had many long 
breaths in them ; nevertheless we changed them, and with 
fresh animals our rapid travelling was resumed. 




As a pointer to those ambitious of visiting Siberia, let 
me add one explanatory word here. First, a tumbril is 
much to be preferred before a tarantass ; second, horse- 
back is preferable to either ; third, walking, in any other 
country, is far less objectionable than travelling in any 
way through Siberia. It is true, that in a tumbril lying 
down is possible, but consider the luxury of such a bed ; 
between the two axles are three or more poles to which 
the bed of the vehicle is fastened ; they are just long and 
inelastic enough to throw you high in the air when the 
tumbril crosses an obstruction, agd let you down again 
with the force of a catapult. Under such circumstances 
sleep visits the traveller in horrid dreams ; this I know 
from experience, for the first night out, being exhausted 
with the mascerating trituration to which J had been 
subjected for eighteen hours, I fell into a doze which 
lasted perhaps half an hour, during which time I dreamed 
of being assaulted by six three-headed giants two miles 
tall, who pounded me with spiked bludgeons and then 
chewed me up between steel teeth six feet long. When 
the giants concluded their feast, my dream changed and 
I thought a large pack of wolves had surrounded a small 
tree up which I had sought escape ; that they fell to with 
their teeth and soon gnawed the sapling until it fell, 
throwing me upon the ground with extreme violence, 
when immediately my flesh was torn into shoe-strings by 
a thousand snarling, voracious pests of Siberia's plains. 
The cold chills even now creep in successive waves over 
my body as I recall that dream, for it seems that I can 
still feel the wolves planting their feet on my body while 
stripping the flesh from my bones. This dream is only 
a very slight exaggeration of the real miseries suffered 
by travellers in Siberia. 

When Schleuter became too tired for further service I 


took his place as driver, and thus we lost no time until 
the evening following our departure from Tomsk, when, 
strange enough, we overtook the same convoy of prison- 
ers I had seen leave Tobolsk, on foot, nearly a week be- 
fore. This I considered a piece of good fortune, as it 
enabled me to see how exiles in transport were treated, 
and to discover with what feelings they accepted banish- 

I got on good terms with the chief officer of the con- 
voy by giving him sundry privileges with a little flask 
which I carried for emergencies, just like the one to which 
it was now applied. Through my interpreter I talked 
with him familiarly for some time and then made inqui- 
ries respecting his charge; he was not disposed to say 
much about the prisoners at first, but as the flask lost its 
contents, he became more loquacious until I had pumped 
enough out of him to fill a book. Under the spirit- 
ual influence which now possessed him, he exhibited 
that careless indifference of his prisoners' comfort which 
distinguishes the Russian aristocracy in their treatment of 
the poor peasantry. 

Tt was plain to be seen that the burdened convicts 
were suffering from fatigue, although it is said they 
travel only on alternate days, resting at post-stations and 
attending church meantime, but of this I have my 
doubts. It is probably the law, but what is a written law 
in a country like Siberia ? My impression is, if the officers 
of a convoy desire to recreate themselves get drunk on 
the highway they stop one or more days at a time ; but, 
on the other hand, if they are anxious to make a quick 
trip in order to serve their own personal ends, then the 
convicts are compelled to continue their march, regardless 
of the fatigue they may be suffering. In fact, the officer 
with whom I was conversing virtually admitted to me as 


There were three ambulances tumbrils with the con- 
voy to carry those who could travel no longer, but the officer 
told me they were used only in extreme cases ; said he, 
"when a man or woman lags behind we sometimes touch 
them up with a cracker ; and if this does not put new 
life in their legs the plete, well wielded, almost invariably 
does." This admission served to indicate the severe 
measures sometimes used in compelling exiles to walk 
when their condition was such that they could scarcely 
support their exhausted bodies. I am not unconscious 
of the fact that many would feign sickness in order to 
secure a ride, but for the stringent measures used by the 
guards ; human nature is not different in Siberia from 
that we see in other countries, but the enforced travelling 
of exiles is performed under circumstances peculiar, in 
that the convicts are punished beyond what their sentence 

As I rode beside the officer my attention was at- 
tracted to one man who staggered along, with his face 
towards the ground as if trying to lose consciousness in a 
hypnotism of himself. He was heavily ironed, in fact 
inhumanly, atrociously shackled, so that every step he 
took his chains rattled in consonance with the extreme 
suffering which I could plainly see he was enduring. His 
wrists were bound together, to which was attached a 
heavier double-chain that ran down and connected with 
immense iron manacles on his ankles ; the weight of the 
gyves he had to carry was not less than thirty pounds, 
and though not at the time able to observe the effects, I 
was quite certain that an examination would disclose a 
sight sufficient to excite the sympathy of any human be- 
ing. I was therefore determined in my efforts to see the 
poor fellow and learn exactly the condition of his limbs. 
To accomplish this I had recourse to a little stratagem, 


in which Schleuter gave me such assistance as made my 
plan successful. I knew that the next station was the 
last before reaching Krasnoyarsk, so directly after refilling 
my flask I went among the several officers of the guard 
and gave them each so much as they desired to drink, 
besides a few pleasant words, such as I thought would 
place them on good terms with me. I next returned 
to the chief officer and give him a full flask, after which 
I began a dissertation on prisoners generally, and on 
exiles in particular ; declaring that as a rule their treat- 
ment was altogether too considerate ; that they should 
be dealt with in a manner becoming their crimes ; if a 
man commits murder he should be shown no more mercy 
than that which he manifested for his victim ; I assured 
him that the plete was a good stimulant and was quite 
certain that the irons on his prisoners were in no wise too 
heavy ; in fact they might be more wholesome if they 
were a little heavier. A long commentary of this charac- 
ter had the effect I had anticipated, for the officer not 
only coincided with my views, but offered to prove that 
he was a disciplinarian after the type I had pictured. 
" Some of these fellows," said he, "are wretches who 
ought to be fed to a slow fire ; well, I have the satisfac- 
tion of knowing that they will remember me ." 

To this I made a complimentary reply, and then begged 
that he would accord me the privilege of examining one 
or more of the convicts at the next station those whom 
he could recommend as having had something of their 
deserts while under his charge. 

I was very glad at receiving a favorable response, so 
at a station between Balshe and Krasnoiarsk we stopped 
an hour, during which time I examined the poor fellow 
to whom I have referred, and also one woman who was 
travelling with a large iron collar about her neck, to 



which there were chains passing down and binding her 
wrists. The two were taken into a private room of the 
station, separately so as not to arouse the suspicion of 
the other convicts or guards. 


The shackles being removed we took off the man's 
felt boots, when I saw a sight which may God forbid I 
should ever again witness. There is nothing to which 


I might compare his condition except to some of those 
tortured by the Spanish Inquisition, or to victims of 
Bulgarian atrocity. The flesh had been bruised by the 
cruel shackles, and then swelling had caused the irons to 
slowly lacerate the sensitive parts until the ankles re- 
sembled the last stages of leprosy, when the flesh grows 
black and begins to drop away from the bones. Such a 
sight I never before saw and hope never to see again, but 
in addition to the suffering which this dreadful treatment 
caused him, his wrists were in a condition almost equally 
bad. His felt boots had, of course, somewhat aggra- 
vated the injuries to his ankles, which were now worn 
almost in two by the shackles ; but there was the 
same rasping pressure on his wrists on which he bore 
nearly all the weight of his chains in order to relieve his 
ankles. Such compassion was aroused in me by his suf- 
ferings that tears fell fast from my eyes, and in a mo- 
ment when the officer was not looking I slipped a ten 
rouble note into the poor fellow's pocket. I was well 
aware that this sum of money would purchase for him 
many little comforts and also secure him a place in the 
ambulance. The look of "God bless you" which he 
gave was so full of soulfulness and gratitude that in re- 
membering the event since I have wished a thousand 
times that I had made my gratuity tenfold greater. But 
in addition to my gift I procured for him transportation 
in the convoy trumbril by giving the chief officer five 

After examining the man and sending him out of the 
room the woman was called in, but though her condition 
was dreadful and pitiable, it was not to be compared with 
that of the man's. Her wrists, which had supported but 
little weight, were badly chafed and had bled until her 
dress was stained ; but the greatest suffering she en- 


dured was from her neck, which was so badly bruised that 
when the iron collar was removed she could not bear the 
least pressure on the injured parts without exhibiting 
great pain. By giving the officer another five rouble note 
he consented to permit the woman to travel into Krasnoy- 
arsk without the shackles. 

But I would not have the reader suppose that these 
two were the only sufferers in that party of prisoners, 
for there were, perhaps, three-score of men and women 
no more fortunate ; the two I selected to examine were 
not exceptional cases, but were a fair sample of the re- 
sults produced by wearing galling irons while travelling 
2000 miles on foot. 

Beside these miserable convicts trudged nearly one 
hundred foot-sore women and children who had elected, of 
their own volition, to accompany their husbands or fathers 
into exile. Among the women not a few carried little 
infants strapped on their backs, Indian style, as their 
arms could never have borne them so far, however 
precious a child is to its mother. I distributed several 
roubles among those whose appearance of misery ap- 
pealed to my sympathy most ; but these little gifts served 
to increase the pity I already felt, for as I would give to 
one and not to another, the sorrowful looks I saw in the 
eyes of those whose extended palms received nothing 
pierced rue with compassion. 


WE arrived at Krasnoiarsk on the evening of the third 
day, a little in advance of the convoy of prisoners, and 
found lodging in a hotel which gave us fair accommoda- 



The town has a population of about 8,000, and is situ- 
ated on one of Siberia's most famous rivers, the Yenisei, 
which, starting in the Taugnou mountains of Chinese 
Tartary, flows northward a distance of 2000 miles into 
the Yenisei Gulf. Krasnoiarsk lies upon several small 
hills, and is built in an irregular, straggling style. It 
contains one prison which is used, I understood, for con- 
fining local offenders, and others who, while enroute 
further east, fall ill by the way-side. What is meant by 
the word "ill," in this connection, may be inferred 
when the fact is known that out of a total of one hun- 
dred and twenty-two 
prisoners confined in the 
prison when I visited it, 
fifty-one were insane. 
I am not surprised that 
so many exiles grow 
mad, for it is only the 
coarsest and strongest 
minds that can bear up 
under the afflictions 
which a majority of ex- 
iles are made to endure. 

In passing through 
the prison at Krasnoi- 
arsk, I went into one 
ward that contained an 
unfortunate fellow who 
had been so brutally maltreated while on the transport 
route that his life was despaired of. He was therefore 
left at the prison, where his treatment being less rigor- 
ous he had so far improved as to be able to sit up and move 
about. But the most remarkable circumstance concern- 
ing this prisoner was found in the fact, that when he en- 



tered the prison he was in chains much heavier than those 
I have previously described, and these had never been re- 
moved. This statement is so startling as to appear incred- 
ible, but receiving the admission from those in charge of 
the prisoner, and with my own eyes beholding tho 
wretched man still clothed with chains, there could be 
no stronger proof produced to establish any statement. 
As I saw him he sat on a clumsy chair to which he was 
made fast, as seen in the engraving. Around his waist 
was an iron girdle two inches broad and nearly one-half 
inch thick, to which heavy chains were attached connect- 
ing with an iron collar about his neck, and with an im- 
mense bar of iron over his feet. This iron bar, which 
must have weighed not less than twenty-five pounds, was 
made fast to his ankles by staples in the bar, which 
grasped the limbs in an unyielding embrace. It was 
truly a lamentable sight, from which I turned away with- 
out investigating the condition of his neck, waist or 
ankles, for I was certain they would present an appear- 
ance not unlike that I have already described as having 
seen at a post-station. 

There are not a few buildings in Krasnoyarsk of excel- 
lent pretensions both as to size and architecture. It has 
one church that cost nearly $500,000, which was built by 
a rich gold miner who had seen much of the world even 
on this side the Atlantic, and yet preferred Siberia as a 
place of residence. His home, however, was such a 
model of luxury and elegance that his preference was but 

I Avas told that the city was but little more than half 
as large as it was prior to the fire of 1880, which swept 
away many of its most important buildings, the ruins of 
which were still to be seen on the south side of the town, 
for it must be remembered that they do not build up 


burned districts in Siberia, or even in any part of Europe, 
like they do in America. A pleasing incident of this fact 
was told to me ut St. Petersburg. Some time in the win- 
ter of 1881 the Livadia Garden buildings (a summer 
retreat in the suburbs of St. Petersburg), took fire and 
were entirely consumed. The buildings consisted of open 
frame works under which there were seats and tables for 
wine and tea drinking ; also an enclosed building used as 
a saloon, and an open air theater ; the whole was made of 
light pine timber, such as in America a rushing man gen- 
erally gives himself one week to have built up from the 
ground and in full operation. But the Livadia; Garden 
was re-opened three months after the tire, the buildings 
having been, replaced, which was regarded as such extra- 
ordinarily quick work that the place has since been known 
as the American Garden. The St. Petersburgers declare 
that no where in the world outside of America was ever 
such rapid construction of buildings known. 

In the afternoon following my arrival in Krasnoiarsk 
the convoy which I accompanied made ready for cross- 
ing the Yenisei and continuing their journey tolrkoutsk, 
where, upon arrival, convicts are distributed, according 
to their sentences, to Sakhalein, Yakoutsk, Kara, and 
other penal stations. 

The Yenisei is nearly one mile wide at Krasnoiarsk, 
across which prisoners are taken by what is called a 
"flying bridge." This bridge, so called, consists of a 
series of boats anchored in the river, over which passes a 
long line connecting with the main shores ; a barge for 
carrying the convicts is made fast to this lino, which, 
moving by pullies, draws the boat from one side of the 
stream to the other. This rather singular arrangement 

O . T 

for ferriage is made necessary by reason of the extraor- 
dinary current in the Yenisei, which often reaches a 
rapidity of fifteen miles per hour,. 





There was nothing to detain me long at Krasnoiarsk, 
and being desirous of visiting some mines where 1 might 
witness the labor of convicts, after advising with Schleu- 
ter, we decided to proceed two hundred miles north- 
ward to Yeniseisk, As this would take us off the 
transport route we had to purchase all provisions 
needed on the trip, and also a complete travelling 
outfit, including horses and tumbril. This, however, did 
not involve so great an outlay as the reader might expect. 
Horses in Siberia are surprisingly cheap, as are cattle. A 
fatted calf, one year old, will not bring more than $1.50, 
and a good pony may be had for from $5 to $8. The 
outfit of three horses, harness and tumbril, cost me only 
$48, and in the end I found my purchase had been a 
most profitable one. Milk is nearly everywhere abund- 
ant in Siberia, and of this useful article we purchased 
four gallons ; butter is not so plentiful, but yet obtain- 
able at from six to eight cents per pound ; we also took 
with us a samovar tea urn two pounds of tea, fifteen 
loaves of white bread, which were baked to our order, 
and twenty pounds of fresh meat. For our horses we 
provided five bushels of corn, which is raised in Siberia 
and sold at twenty-two cents per bushel ; grass is gen- 
erally abundant, but oats are almost unknown. We laid 
in no other provender for our animals, having already 
such a load that we could scarcely make room for our 
bedding. Thus accoutred, away we went towards the 
great tundras, which, beginning a little north of Yen- 
iseisk, stretch away to the arctic shores of Siberia. 

Before reaching Krasnoiarsk the country becomes 
more broken, with a considerable showing of stunted 
trees, chiefly pine, but going northward from that 
city the vegetation rapidly grows more profuse, until 
soon there appears an unbroken forest in which large 


.307 abounds. Of this latter fact I had abundant evi- 
dence during the first night we went into camp. There 
is a public highway between Krasnoyarsk and Yeniseisk 
along which are occasional inns, but the intervals are so 


rare that we concluded to make camp at nine o'clock 
rather than push 011 ten miles further, where we might 
have secured lodgings not nearly so good as our tumbril 
afforded. Directly after lighting our camp-fire, which 


was made within a few yards of the road-side, beside a 
large log, Schleuter turned to me suddenly, with the re- 
mark : ' What was that ? ' ' 

I had heard no unusual noise, but must eonfess that 
his enquiry immediately put me in a condition to sec or 
hear anything dreadful upon the least symptom of a cause. 
I had with me no arms except a Smith and Wesson for- 
ty-four calibre revolver, and this was quickly drawn in 
anticipation of approaching deadly peril. The night was 
cloudless, so that objects not obscured by the dense growth 
could be readily denned at a distance of thirty or fort y 
yards. We therefore looked with eyes and ears, but could 
discover nothing, though our horses manifested signs of 
uneasiness. After several minutes of suspense, even 
Schleuter came to the conclusion that he had given a 
false alarm, but I was far from being satisfied, having 
received a nervous shock from the suddenness of his ex- 
citing enquiry which I could not rally from. 

Under no circumstances is it an act of decorum or an 
evidence of great courage for a gentleman to parade his 
cool bravery before a company when every element of 
danger is absent ; particularly inappropriate would it be 
for ine to strike a self-eulogistic attitude here where the 
opposite side has no opportunity of replying. But at 
the sacrifice of modesty I must say that on my native 
heath I have hunted such game as the country afforded 
without at any time save once having either my con- 
science or fears excited ; this placid condition is due, 
however, to the fact that I always killed what I was hunt- 
ing, and because I never got on the wrong side of the 
fence. But the conditions were now very materially al- 
tered, for what I knew concerning Siberian game had 
been acquired by reading adventures which described the 
animals as great hunters themselves and of the carnivorous 


Species. What I had forgotten of the ferocious wolves, 
hears, boars, etc., of which I had read, came back to me 
now in vivid panorama, so that an admission of my rest- 
lessness is drawing it exceedingly mild. 

I sat up rather late, smoking my pipe, but the drowsy 
god at length alighted on my eye-lids and I turned in 
with Schleuter, who had for an hour before been executing 
a nasal refrain in the tumbril. One, perhaps two hours 
had passed ; the fire was almost extinguished, and doz- 
ing, I had lost my fear in a pleasant dream of home. 
The dream was concluded abruptly by my being awak- 
ened with a returning sense of danger ; the horses were 
snorting and tugging violently to loose themselves. I 
jumped up, and looking over toward the smouldering 
embers saw a bear, which, in my dreadfully excited state, 
appeared as large as a mammoth. I forgot to awaken 
Schleuter, who obstinately slept without one disturbing 
reflection, but reaching for my pistol I fired across and 
very near Schleuter' s head just as the bear reared up on 
his hind legs to drain our samovar, which had been left on 
the log. If I had known a little pistol shot could have 
created so much of a row I would have considered sev- 
eral minutes before firing. Schleuter bounded up as 
though a dynamite mine had exploded under him, and he 
lit out of the- tumbril like one possessed of the devil. So 
dreadfully' confounded was I by his actions that for a 
moment I forgot all about the bear, notwithstanding that 
it was howling with rage and advancing on Schleuter. 
My aim had not been bad, for the bear's foreleg was 
broken by the shot, but this served to rouse all the fight 
in bruin's nature. Schleuter, half awake, could not see 
the bear nor be made to understand his dangerous posi- 
tion, until another shot from my pistol, placed almost 
against the animal's ear, put a coup de grace on our ad- 



There was no more sleep for either of us that night, so 
rebuilding our fire we fell to and skinned the dead bear, 
keeping the hide as a trophy and taking the carcass along 
with us to Yeniseisk. I learned from natives that what 
I considered a great adventure, in killing a bear, was an 
event so commonplace that it could scarcely be esteemed 
an adventure. In fact the country I was now in abounded 
with such game, the hunting of which was followed not 
only for the purpose of securing the game but for rid- 
ding the country of pests which ravaged herds of young 
cattle and horses. A favorite way of hunting the bear is 
with a whip, fire-arms and ammunition not always being 
obtainable in Siberia. To be successful in this kind of 
hunting two men must hunt together on horses ; each 
provides himself with a whip, made of plaited rawhide, 
about twelve or fifteen feet long, to the end of which is 
tied a leaden ball, which gives impetus to the lash,. and 
also serves the more useful purpose of tying the lash 
when whipped around the animal's neck. A bear being 
found the two hunters, whose horses are generally trained 
for the use, ride on each side of the animal, striking it 
with the whip until it is almost exhausted ; they then, by 
a movement which requires no little skill, throw their 
whips around the bear's neck in such a manner that the 
lash ties itself; now being drawn from opposite directions 
the animal is powerless and is of ten taken into the village 
in this way, where it is disposed of. 


WE reached Yeniseisk without further adventure, and 
found it a city of much greater size and importance than 
I hud supposed. It contains a population of nearly 20,- 
000 souls, and is beautifully situated on the south side of 


the Yenisei River. It is a great center for disposing of 
furs obtained by the hunters of northern Siberia, who 
are generally Samoyeds, Tunguses and Ostjaks, whose 
numbers between the Obi and Yenisei rivers are estimated 
to be about 25,000. They subsist almost entirely by 
hunting and fishing, in which, with the use of the most 
primitive hooks and bows, they are remarkably success- 
ful ; but being nomadic and improvident, like our Amer- 
ican Indians, they accumulate no more than will supply 
their present necessities. 

The principal animals found in the province of Yeni- 
seisk are the bear, wolf, reindeer, white fox, ermine, elk 
and sable. 

In capturing the bear the Samoyeds adopt an original 
plan, one which I do not remember being practiced by 
any other tribe. Bears are more or less like the deer in 
their habit of visiting a special locality by a particular 
route ; the Samoyed therefore takes advantage of this 
habit by fixing his trap in bruin's way : A wooden plat- 
form is erected around a tree at such height from the 
ground that to reach the center of it a bear must 
stand upon his hind legs. The platform is filled with 
very sharp iron spikes running up two inches above the 
surface, while above them and made fast to the tree is 
placed a piece of meat. In rearing up to secure this 
meat the bear transfixes his fore-feet on the sharp spikes, 
and is unable to release himself. 

Snow was already falling about Yeniseisk during 
my visit to the place in September, and I saw a large 
party of Tunguses making ready for a trip to the tundras, 
which begin about thirty miles north of Yeniseisk ; the 
fishing season was now practically over, while the hunt- 
ing was just beginning. I did not visit the tundras, be- 
cause my time was too limited, but from several persons. 


residents of Yeniseisk, who were thoroughly familiar 
with Northern Siberia, I obtained a description which 
was no doubt more accurate than I could have secured by 
paying a short visit to that intensely dreary section. 

There is no place on earth that can compare with the 
tundras for desolation and extreme cold, unless we choose 
to bring the arctic regions into the contrast. Our great 
western plains are only miniature tracts of level country, 
and their product of thin grass is as a bounteous dispen- 
sation of nature when compared with the almost meas- 
ureless, frozen-hearted, worse than barren deserts of 
northern Siberia. This great verdureless plain extends 
from the center of northern Russia, six thousand miles 
across Siberia, until it impinges on the fretful shores of 
the Kamtchatkan sea and Behring's Strait. For ten 
months in the year this immense stretch of hunger-laden 
shore is covered with snow ; not so much as a dry twig, 
frosted leaf, or drifting scallops about some fallen tree, 
is there to relieve the one dead, shimmering, shivering 
ocean waste of trackless snow ; nothing, like a bubble in 
mid-ocean, unless may be seen on the expansive plain some 
lonely hunters braving arctic perils in quest of the rein- 

An American who spent three years in Siberia gives the 
following graphic description of life on the tundras : 

' k A winter journey over the great northern tundras is 
inexpressibly lonely and monotonous. Day after day 
the eye rests upon the same illimitable expanse of storm- 
drifted snow, and night after night the traveller camps 
in an utter solitude, over which seems to brood the 
mournful silence of universal death. I do not know 
how to describe in words the impression of sadness, 
loneliness and isolation from all human interests, which 
these great barren plains make upon the imagination. 


The world which you have left, with all its cares, strife 
and busy activity, fades away into the unreal imagery of 
a dream ; and you seem removed to an infinite distance 
from all the interests and occupations of your previous 
life. You cannot realize that you are still in the same 
busy, active, money-getting world in which you remem- 
ber once to have lived. The cold, still atmosphere, the 
red, gloomy twilight of the low-hanging sun, and the 
great white ghastly ocean of snow around you, are all 
full of cheerless, mournful suggestions, and have a strange 
unearthliness which you cannot reconcile or connect with 
any part of your previous life. 

"The pleasantest feature of winter travel in Siberia is 
camping-out at night. All day long you suffer from 
cold, hunger and fatigue ; you lose your way in blinding 
snow-storms, or become exhausted by the constant strug- 
gle to keep warm in a temperature of 40 or 50 below 
zero ; but the anticipation of the bright evening camp- 
fire sustains your flagging spirits, and enables you to hold 
out until night. We usually camped as soon as we could 
find wood for a fire after it grew dark. Three sledges 
were drawn up together so as to make a little enclosure 
about ten feet square ; the snow was all shovelled out of 
the interior and banked up around the sides like a snow 
fort ; and a fire was built at the open end. The little 
snow cellar was then strewn to a depth of three or four 
inches with twigs of trailing pine ; shaggy bearskins were 
spread down to make a warm, soft carpet; and our fur 
sleeping-bags and swans-down pillows arranged for the 
night. In the middle of the enclosed space stood a low 
table improvised out of a candle box, on which one of 
our native drivers soon placed two cups of steaming tea, 
a few pieces of frozen rye bread and some dried fish. 
Then stretching ourselves out in luxurious style upon our 


bearskin carpet, with our feet to the fire and our backs 
again stPpillows, we smoked, drank tea, and told stories 
in perfect comfort. After supper the natives piled dry 
branches of trailing pine upon the fire until it sent up a 
column of flame ten feet in height, and then, squatted in 
their favorite position around the blaze, they would sing 
for hours the wild, melancholy songs of the Kamchadals, 
or tell never-ending stories of hardship and adventure on 
the coast of the Icy Sea. At last, the great constella- 
tion of Orion marked bed-time. Our stockings were 
taken off and dried by the fire, the dogs were fed their 
daily allowance of dried fish each, and putting on our 
heaviest fur coats, we crawled feet first into our wolfskin 
bags, pulled them up over our heads, and slept. 

" A camp, in the middle of a dark, clear winter's night, 
presents a strange, wild appearance. Imagine, if you 
can, that you have waked up at some unknown hour 
after midnight, and have thrust your head out of your 
frosty fur bag, to see by the stars what time it is. The 
fire has died away to a few glowing embers. There is 
just light enough to distinguish the dark, crouching forms 
of the natives, some sitting upon their heels, with their 
backs against sledges, some squatting in a row by the 
fire, and all asleep. Away beyond the limits of the camp 
stretches the desolate steppe in a series of long snowy 
waves, which blend gradually into a great white frozen 
ocean, and are lost in the distance and darkness of night. 
High overhead, in a sky which is almost black, sparkle 
the bright constellations of Orion and the Pleiades, the 
celestial clocks which mark the long, weary hours be- 
tween sunset and sunrise. The blue, mysterious stream- 
ers of the aurora tremble in the north, now shooting up 
in clear, bright lines to the zenith, and then waving back 
and forth in great majestic curves over the silent camp, 


as if warning back the adventurous traveller from the 
unknown regions around the pole. Silence is as profound 
as death. Nothing but the pulsating of the blood in jour 
ears and the heavy breathing of your sleeping men, 
breaks the universal lull. 

" Suddenly there rises upon the still night air a long, 
faint, wailing cry, like that of a human being in the last 
extremity of suffering. Gradually it swells and deepens, 
until it seems to fill the whole atmosphere with its vol- 
ume of mournful sound, dying away at last into a low, 
despairing moan. It is the signal howl of a Siberian dog. 
In a moment it is taken up by another upon a higher key ; 
two or three more join in, then a dozen, then twenty, 
fifty, eighty, until the whole pack of one hundred dogs 
howl an infernal chorus together, making the air fairly 
tremble with sound, as if from the heavy bass of a great 

" For fully a minute heaven and earth seem to be full of 
yelling, howling fiends. Then, one by one they begin to 
drop off, the unearthly tumult grows fainter and fainter, 
until at last, it ends as it began, in one long and inex- 
pressibly melancholy wail, and the camp becomes silent 
again as death. One or two of your men move restlessly 
in their sleep, as if the mournful howls blended unpleas- 
antly with their dreams, but no one wakes, and a death- 
like silence again pervades heaven and earth. 

"Suddenly the aurora shines out with increased bril- 
liancy, and its waving swords sweep back and forth 
across the dark, starry sky, and light up the snowy steppe 
with transitory flashes of colored radiance, as if the gates 
of heaven were opening and closing upon the dazzling 
brightness of the celestial city. Presently it fades away 
again to a faint, diffused glow in the north, and one pale 
green streamer, slender and bright as the spear of Ithu- 


riel, pushes slowly up toward the zenith until it touches 
with its translucent point the jewelled belt of Orion. 
Then it, too, fades and vanishes, and nothing but a bank 
of pale white mist on the northern horizon shows the lo- 
cation of the celestial armory whence the Arctic spirits 
draw the gleaming swords and lances which they brand- 
ish nightly over the lonely Siberian steppes. 

" With the earliest streak of dawn the camp begins to 
show signs of animation. The dogs get out of the deep 
holes which their warm bodies have melted in the snow ; 
the natives push their heads out of the neck-holes of their 
fur coats, and whip off the mass of frost which has accu- 
mulated around the aperture ; a fire is built, tea boiled, 
and you crawl out of your fur bag to breakfast. Fifteen 
or twenty minutes are spent in drinking tea and eating 
dried fish. The sledges are then packed, the runners wet 
down to cover them with a coating of ice, and before the 
aurora fades away in the increasing light of sunrise, you 
are riding again at a brisk trot across the steppe. In this 
monotonous routine of riding, camping and sleeping, day 
after day, and week after week pass slowly and wearily 

During the summer season of two months, there de- 
velops upon the tundras a coarse vegetation which very 
much resembles moss, but so thick and strong is it that 
nothing, not even a reindeer, can travel through it. But in 
the winter season this moss-grass becomes food for these 
animals, from which they remove the snow by digging 
with their sharp feet. 

The Tungueses whom I saw preparing for the hunt 
had a large number of dogs which they took with them 
to draw their sledges, as only dogs or reindeers can be 
used for that purpose ; they also had a number of sledges 
on which were thrown with other luggage several pairs of 


snow-shoes. In answer to my questions, through an inter- 
preter, one of the hunters told nie his party was going in 
quest of sable, the skins of which sold in Yeniseisk as high 
as $40. In hunting these little animals the Tunguese re- 
lies chiefly on good luck, rather than any special skill. 
Tracks of the sable being found. they are followed until 
the animal is either caught, when it is despatched with a 
stick, or run into a hole. As digging it out would be next to 
impossible, and as the animal frequently lies abed for 
three or four days at a time, the Tunguese goes into 
camp to wait its appearance. Before lying by, as it 
were, however, the hunter fixes a number of snares 
around the hole, to which he generally attaches little 
bells. He then takes up a position near the hole and 
waits ; when the sable comes out and is caught the tink- 
ling bells alarm the hunter, who rushes and secures his 
prize before it can gnaw the threads in two which hold 
its feet. 

White foxes are caught in traps set on the highest 
knolls that can be found, for it is well known that this 
wary animal has a habit of repairing each night to some 
hill to make his observations. Black foxes are also occa- 
sionally caught in Siberia, but they are exceedingly rare. 
While attending the Moscow exposition I was shown a 
dressed black-fox skin for which the furrier asked 
$1,000, and this he assured me was not an unusual price. 
Elk hunting, or stalking, as it is called, is carried on 
, by men on snow-shoes, which any one, not acquainted 
with the numbers of these animals that roam the tun- 
dras, would suppose very hard and unremunerative labor ; 
but so numerous are elks, and also reindeer, in that bar- 
ren country, that they may be found in large herds 
without expending much time or labor. There are an- 
nually brought down to Yeniseisk for sale from 10 ? 000 
to 20,000 elk skins. 


Elks are generally shot, but reindeer hunting involves 
great skill and a thorough knowledge of the animal's 
habits, for they are taken alive and domesticated for 
draught purposes. The more common way of catching 
them is by building enclosures into which they are driven 
and then secured by lassoing. As it would be impos- 
sible to find material on the tundras out of which an 
enclosure could be made, hunters provide themselves 
with stakes and ropes which are carried on sledges to the 
places desired. A herd of reindeer being located the 
enclosure is hastily set up, after which a party of hun- 
ters surround and drive them to the mouth, which is 
large but gradually contracts until a small passage-way 
leads into a circular enclosure. Their horns are so large 
and many-pronged, that lassoing them may be easily 
done by even a novice. 


THE first mine I had the privilege of visiting, worked 
by convict labor, was at Yeniseisk, and to this part of the 
object of my visit I now addressed myself. Siberia is rich 
in mineral, nor is the country limited in quantity or qual- 
ity to the more common metals, for it also has large 
quantities of gold, silver, iron, malachite, copper, zinc, 
etc. Americans are wont to look upon our own territories 
as the richest in precious metals of any country in the 
world, but this a mistaken idea. Siberia is unquestion- 
ably richer in gold and silver than California, Colorado, 
Nevada, or New Mexico ; she already produces more 
gold than any other country, notwithstanding the obsta-> 



cles which hedge her about, and every year the product 
largely increases. 

The principal gold mines in Siberia are those of Yen- 
iseisk, Irkoutsk, Kaust, Kara, Nijni Udinsk and several 


along the Lena River, which hitter I am told are much 
richer than any others yet opened in Siberia. There is 
also a very large gold mine on the river Vitim, in the 
tians-Baikal district, from which there is now taken 
nearly $3,000,000 annually. 

The Yeniseisk ;old mine is several miles distant from 


the town and to reach it we had therefore to have re- 
course to our tumbril. The road led through a dread- 
fully rough country and crossed several streams that were 
so deep the bed of our vehicle was wet. Beaching the 
mine I was somewhat surprised to find it a placer digging, 
for my idea was that here I should find convicts at work 
far under the earth upon whom I might observe the effects 
of perpetual banishment from sunshine. While I did not ? 
therefore, go under ground in quest of information of an 
extremely unpleasant character, I did witness many sights 
of interest connected with Siberian mining and the oper- 
ation of convict labor. 

A very large space of ground was dug over, but there 
was employed altogether not more than 400 laborers, 
about one-fourth of whom were free-men, that is, con- 
victs who had served their sentences but remained in the 
country because they could never collect enough money 
to take them to Russia again, or for some other reasons. 
*Thcse mines, like a majority of others in Siberia, are 
worked by private corporations or capitalists, who hire 
convict laborers from the Government. This system has 
been in operation for many years, owing to the fact that, 
prior thereto, dishonest officials robbed the Government 
of the mineral yield so that the mines were worked at a 
continual loss. 

The mining at Yeniseisk is performed in a primitive 
way. A large cylinder with maivy perforations takes the 
place of the washing pan used in the early days of Cali- 


forma. Into this cylinder, which is made to revolve, the 
gold-bearing earth and stones are placed, over which a 
stream of water runs. The yield was not large, but an 
officer was there to inspect every cylinder and make re- 
port of its contents, which report was transmitted to the 
Government. The gold bullion, dust and quartz is taken 
by team to Irkoutsk, where there are reducing works. 
These teams are sent out from Yeniseisk about four times 
each year and are always accompanied by a cossack guard 
to protect the treasure from falling into the hands of 
highway plunderers. 

I witnessed no special hardships upon the convict lab- 
orers at these mines, nothing more than may be seen on a 
visit to almost any penitentiary in the United States. I saw 
a few men chained to wheelbarrows, and others having 
chains on their wrists and ankles, but it did not appear 
that they suffered greatly. But I was afterward in- 
formed that the mines near Yeniseisk were controlled by 
a very humane and charitable capitalist whose treatment 
of those in his employ was exceptionally considerate. 

Upon our return from the mines we came upon a for- 
lorn, exceedingly wretched appearing man who, in re- 
sponse to Schleuter's inquiries, stated that he was an ex- 
ile, having a habitation in the mountainous region 
thereabouts. There was something about the man which 
I could not resist, perhaps it was the melting and intelli- 
gent expression of his eyes, or the sorrowful, pitiable 
look that he gave us, or a thankful recognition for our 
condescension in addressing him so kindly. I therefore 
inquired the distance to his lodgings, and finding it com- 
paratively near immediately decided to pay him a visit. 
After a drive of perhaps half an hour we descended a 
mountain beyond the base of which there was a long, level 
stretch of treeless plain covered with snow. In this 


cheerless solitude we soon found the exile's abode, which 
I was astonished to see was an exact counterpart of 4 the 
mud "dug-outs " still to be found scattered all over our 
western territories. 

T was glad to find that the poor exile who had excited 
in me so much interest and compassion was not all 
alone in this dreadfully dreary spot, and that he had a 
companion whose lot was no more fortunate than his own ; 
besides his fellow exile there was a faithful dog, companion 
to them both, whose vigils never waned, guarding against 
intrusions of wild animals and none the less suspicious 
of strange people like ourselves. 

The abode of our unhappy exile consisted of a slight 
excavation over which was a boarded double room cov- 
ered on the top with branches of trees ; the whole was 
banked with earth, two feet thick, so that a fairly com- 
fortable house was had, warm in winter and cool in sum- 
mer. A door on the south side led, by one step down, 
into the one spacious room, which was warmed by a fire 
of fir-wood burning in an improvised stove of too hybrid 
a character to admit of description. The floor of the 
room was made of loose boards uneven in length and 
thickness, but joined together with much care to exclude 
dampness. A bed was made in one corner by driving 
stakes into the ground which protruded about two feet and 
to which lateral and cross- wise strips were nailed to receive 
the bedding of wolf and bear skins. An icon of the Ma- 
donna hung on the wall, before which a little tallow can- 
dle, made of wolf's lard (so he told me), was kept burn- 
ing ; three shelves, two stools and a box composed all 
the funiture in the room. His cooking utensils were 
meager, but there was a samovar steaming on the stove, 
which to every Russian is next in importance to his icon. 

We were welcomed to these primeval appearing quar- 


ters with a genuine hospitality. After tea had been 
drunk I begged of the exile to tell me the circumstances 
under which he was banished, and something of the life 
he had led in Siberia. First being assured that I was an 
American in quest of information concerning convict 
life in Siberia, he recited his story to me through my in- 
terpreter, which briefly repeated is substantially as fol- 
lows : 

"My home was, until 1873, near the village of Mie- 
chow, which is in the southern part of Poland, nearly two 
hundred versts from Warsaw. I belonged to a commu- 


nal estate, which was originally the property of our no- 
bleman Kratznich, but after the order of liberation I 
remained attached to the estate, and tried to draw f rom 
the soil sustenance for my family, consisting of a wife 
and two children. I was fairly prosperous, though there 
is little certainty in the crops of my district, one year 
being abundant, and perhaps for one or two seasons fol- 
lowing a complete failure. However, I had no reason 
for complaint, since many of my neighbors pronounced 
me the most fortunate peasant among them. 

44 My misfortune began in the spring of 1873, when 
there came to my cottage home a brother to my wife, 
who had fled from the authorities ; he was charged with 
having given aid to the Nihilists and also with being 
a member of the Terrorist party. Well, I gave him shel- 
ter over night, and the next morning three gendarmes, 
who had been pursuing him for several days, found and 
arrested him in my house ; I felt certain of his innocence, 
for he swore to myself and wife, before the Little 
Mother, that the accusation was false. I tried to prevail 
on the gendarmes to release him, but my pleadings, 
alas ! only served to endanger my own liberty ; I was ac- 
cused by the officers of aiding my brother to escape, and 



despite the lamentations and prayers of my wife and 
children they tore me away from home, which I have 
never since beheld." 

At this point in his narrative, the poor fellow broke 
into tears, and burying his face in his hands, cried as if 
his heart were breaking. We tried hard to console 
him, so after venting his grief for several minutes he 
proceeded : 


" I was carried to Warsaw and thrown into prison where 
I remained nearly one week, at the expiration of which 
time, in company with ten others, I was taken to Mos- 
cow without having any trial whatsoever. From Moscow 
I was banished to the mines at Nijni Udinsk, which are 
on the transport route between Krasnoiarsk and Irkoutsk. 
Would to God I could forget the sufferings which I en- 
dured and witnessed among my fellow convicts while on 
that dreadful journey. 

"When I left Moscow and had learned my sentence my 
grief was so intense that it seemed I could not possibly 
survive ; day and night I could see my wife and children 


standing beside our little log cottage casting their stream- 
ing eyes after me as the gendarmes rushed me away with 
them. This great grief , in a measure, made me uncon- 
scious of the cruelties to which I was subjected. It was 
in the summer time when we made the journey and the 
weather was so hot as to blister every part of our persons 
exposed to the sun. I was heavily ironed, like the most 
despicable malefactor, though I was as innocent of doing 
any wrong to the government, either in act or sympathy, 
as a babe on its mother's breast. The irons I wore cut 
my wrists and ankles so dreadfully that I became almost 
exhausted from the loss of blood, early on the journey. 

* The officers gave me some felt to bind my wounds, but 
this only aggravated my sufferings, as they no doubt 
knew it would. The dust and heat caused a rapid swell- 
ing of the afflicted parts, which turned black, and had I 
not stopped at a way-station on the route they would cer- 
tainly have mortified. 

" I cannot tell you of all the acts of inhumanity prac- 
ticed towards us while on our way to Udinsk ; my con- 
dition was somewhat relieved through a judicious use of 
the few roubles I chanced to have with me at the time of 
my arrest, but the other prisoners who had no means what- 
ever were literally goaded to death on the transport high- 

" I had heard much of the hardships endured by con- 
victs in the mines, but so great were my sufferings on the 
route that I was ready to hail the mines with joyful satis- 
faction, so .when at last we came in sight of Udinsk 
those of my party who were consigned to labor in the 
gold mines there looked on its spires with many manifes- 
tations of pleasure. 

" A very great majority of the prisoners were ready 
for the hospital rather than the mines, but several poor 


fellows who had become the butt of official brutality 
were hustled into the mines with feet and hands almost 
putrifying from injuries produced by their heavy mana- 
cles. I was more fortunate, however, thanks to my rou- 
bles, and for two weeks I had a good bed in the hospital, 
which was looked after by a local charity. When my re- 
covery was complete I was ordered into the mines, f ully 
three hundred feet under ground, and assigned to labor with 
another convict ; we were required to trundle a large bar- 
row, I at the handles and he to draw by means of rope 
and breast-yoke attached to the axle of the barrow. 

" Before my money was exhausted I did not have any 
extreme hardships in the mine, but when my last copeck 
was gone then began sufferings which I dread to recall. 
Heavy chains were put on me again, about my neck, 
waist and ankles, while I was compelled to labor at least 
eighteen hours every day ; nor was the labor of an ordi- 
nary kind, but required such exertions that I have seen 
many men faint and fall under it. In numerous instances 
when exhausted nature could do no more, a manifesta- 
tion of fatigue would cause the sufferer to be unmerci- 
fully punished ; my shoulders have been bared to the 
knout on many occasions for imaginary derelictions, and 
twice I was tied up by the thumbs because I fell on my 
barrow from exhaustion. The more common modes of 
punishment practiced at^Nijni Udinsk are by the knout, 
plete, scorpion and suspension by the thumbs. I was 
never subjected to the scorpion, but have seen it applied 
not a few times. This instrument for flagellation is made 
like the knout, except that in place of the knots on the 
thongs there are small hooks which, with the force of 
each blow, are driven into the flesh and on being jerked 
out draw portions of flesh with them. It is a dreadful 
sight to witness a flogging with this most terrible of 


scourges, about one-fourth of those thus punished dying 
from its effects. 

" On rare occasions the heads of convicts, who have 
incurred the hatred of their brutal guards, are bound 
with strips of rawhide which are drawn so tightly that 
the eyes of the sufferer burst out ; the face turns purple 
and streams of perspiration pour from every part of the 
body. This punishment is also generally fatal, but I am 
glad to say it is not often inflicted. But there is a pun- 
ishment which is more terrible than either of the others 
mentioned, because it is protracted sometimes through 
years. That which I refer to is the confinement of pris- 
oners in damp portions of the mines from whence they 
are never allowed to depart until death releases them. I 
have seen men and women too, who were serving life sen- 
tences at hard labor in the mines, loaded with chains and 
kept at work in pools of water which were both work- 
shops and bed to them for years. It is astonishing how 
long some persons will survive this horrible treatment ; 
they grow thinner and thinner each day until their bodies 
become almost transparent ; thin cheeks and eyes can be 
seen in dark recesses of the face, the hair falls out, the voice 
becomes almost inaudible, the bones appear sharply defined 
under athin skin and at last they fall to rise no more forever. 
Amid the flickering lights which so imperfectly illumine 
the mines these poor wretches appear like gnomes, or 
spectres of famine, which no' one possessed of the least 
humanity can look upon without deepest pity. 

" I endured these dreadful sights and punishments 
for eight years, which was the full term of my hard 
labor sentence. But my misfortunes did not termi- 
nate with this sentence, for I am yet doomed to nine 
more years of exile life in the district which I now 
inhabit. I do not believe it is a common thing to divide 




a sentence into periods of hard labor and simple exile, but 
this has been my lot, and I must endure it. An equally 
hard portion of my misfortune is the impossibility of 
communicating with my family, not a single word from 
whom has been received since the day I was so causelessly 
taken away from them, nine years ago. Neither my wife 
nor I can write, nor could any of our neighbors, so that 
I have found no means of exchanging messages, and am 
therefore in ignorance of their condition; they maybe 
dead ; or my wife, hopeless of my return again, may 
now be wedded to another ; but, if there have been no 
changes yet, what shall I expect in the next nine years? 
My heart is buried under afflictions which have passed, 
and forebodings of evils which must come to me. 

" I live here in this little house, dividing it with my 
equally unfortunate neighbor, and we subsist on what we 
can make by hunting and fishing. My present condition 
I would not deplore, but for remembrances of my home 
in Poland, which, alas ! is my home no more." 

I was so interested in the exile's story as to be quite 
unconscious of the approach of darkness, or that I had 
spent nearly three hours in the snow-covered cabin. But 
I did not forget to place ten roubles in the poor fellow's 
hand, and to promise him that I should visit Warsaw be- 
fore returning to America, and make an effort to com- 
municate whatever message he might wish to send his 
wife. He thanked me with tears in his eyes, and said : 
" Tell her that my greatest hope is to see her again, and 
that the hardest part of my sentence having already been 
served I shall not cease my prayers for the preserva- 
tion of our lives that we may meet again and be happy 
in the little cottage where we were parted so long ago." 

That every statement made to me by the confiding exile 
was true has never excited in me the least doubt, while I 



have repeated them (though in my own language) with- 
out any exaggeration. My own observations, besides the 
corroborating stories I heard from others who had vol- 
untarily and involuntarily visited the mines, quite con- 
vince me that it would be next to impossible to exagger- 
ate the brutal treatment practiced by guards in Siberia 
towards their miserable prisoners. 


BUT for the snow on the ground it would have been 
quite dark when we left the exile's abode to drive back 
to Yeniseisk. The way was not marked by any sem- 
blance of a road, but I anticipated no difficulty in mak- 
ing the return trip safely and speedily. Our horses had 
been chilled by so long standing in the raw atmosphere, 
and when we started them they broke away in a run 
which threatened destruction to our tumbril and injury to 
ourselves. We got them checked finally, however, and 
were bowling along in a hilarious spirit until, reaching 
the apex of a hill, I looked out over the glinting land- 
scape, and was upon the point of making some observa- 
tion on the beautiful scene, when I descried three black 
objects nearly two hundred yards distant, which I thought 
were dogs. But Schleuter was too old a traveller in 
Siberia to be deceived, and immediately upon seeing them 
he exclaimed: "Wolves! Get your pistol ready, for 
we may be in for it to-night." 

I must confess that his remark excited some fear in 
me, for with it the stories I had read of travellers being 
chased and eaten by these voracious beasts, came back to 
me with chromatic exaggeration. This partially sub- 



sided when I saw the wolves making off from us, and to 
facilitate their retreat I tired two shots at them, but 


without effect. However, we had not proceeded more 
than two miles further when I saw standing in the way 
we were going two more wolves, which were so bold that I 


shot one of them not more than twenty feet from our 
vehicle, while the other trotted off slowly, notwithstand- 
ing the shots I fired at it. We had twelve miles to go 
before arriving at Yenisiesk, and I saw on the route, al- 
together, not less than fifty wolves, all of the large, 
ferocious species which does not hesitate to attack trav- 
ellers, when slightly pressed by hunger. 

Arriving at the city about eleven o'clock, we related 
our experience with the wolves, when the landlord told us 
that a courier had just come in who had been set upon, 
by a pack, nearly twenty miles south of Yeniseisk, on 
his route from Irkoutsk, and that to save himself he 
had ridden his horse almost to death. 

Any mention of wolves before a crowd in a Siberian 
inn is sure to call forth from one or more persons, who 
may be present, stories of personal experience with the 
dreadful creatures, in which hair-breadth escapes figure 
very prominently, but as wolves are more plentiful in 
Siberia than squirrels are in our western States, such re- 
lations are made more out of vaunting ambition than with 


an expectation of interesting those who listen to them. 
But for me stories of wolf and bear hunting are always en- 
tertaining, and I was therefore very much delighted to 
hear second-hand through rny interpreter the fol- 
lowing, told by an Ispravnik Governor from the Tomsk 
Government. It chancod that this distinguished func- 
tionary had arrived at Yeniseisk on the day I visited 
the mines, and wsis a guest of the inn at which I was 
slopping. He had four servants with him, all exiles, 
and otherwise manifested the dignity of his magisterial 
office, so that when he spoke all gave him a respectful 
hearing. To preserve the identity of the relator I will 
give the story in the first person : 

" It has now been just two yvurs since business, con- 



iiected with the Government, called me to Irkoutsk, and 
from thence to the Alexandreffsky Central prison, which 
is nearly one hundred versts north of the city. The 

winter, you remember, set in unusually early in 1880, 
and when I started from Tomsk there was so much snow 


on the ground that a troika could be used. I met with 
no adventure on the trip to Irkoutsk, where my business 
was speedily transacted . The Governor at Irkoutsk placed 
his own private team at my disposal for the trip to Alex- 
andreffsky, and with a good driver I started out early in 
the morning, calculating to reach my destination before 
night set in, as I never fancied driving on a lonely high- 
way even in the moonlight. 

" It has been my rule, whenever travelling through 
any of the Siberian Governments, to carry with me a 
trusty rifle, which I purchased on my last visit to St. 
Petersburg, because it has more than once served me well 
in the midst of imminent danger, but unfortunately, on 
the occasion which I am now about to relate, I failed to 
provide myself with the usual complement of cartridges, 
taking less than twenty, when I generally carry not less 
than fifty. 

44 We started out from Irkoutsk in high glee, taking 
with us a good quantity of quass and vodka, which serves 
one so well, you know, on a journey of the character I 
was about to take. Nothing whatever occurred to im- 
pede our progress until nearly three o'clock in the after- 
noon, when my Yemtschik became so confused by the 
vodka he had internperately indulged that he left the road 
and ran the troika over a log, upsetting it into a bank of 
snow, but we escaped injury. This episode was too com- 
mon to be mentioned but for the fact that our vehicle 
was so badly broken that we stopped nearly two hours 
making repairs, and after going only a short distance 
further we again broke down, our trouble being a broken 
shaft and tug, which was caused by the fractious capers 
of one of the horses. 

" It was nearly seven o'clock in the afternoon when I 
heard the prolonged howl of a wolf, which was directly 


answered by several others in different directions. These 
sounds, however, did not alarm me in the least, for I have 
heard them too frequently ; but it was not long before I 
saw crossing the roadway ahead of us packs of five and 
six wolves, while others trotted along behind us in a 
sneaking manner. 1 knew these were the skirmish ing- 
forces and refrained from shooting, knowing full well 
that if I should kill one the others would devour him, and 
once tasting blood and flesh they would seek to finish 
their repast on us. 

"My driver kept the horses in a brisk gallop, realizing 
more than 1 did the danger which now threatened. Grow- 
ing more bold each minute as their numbers increased, 
the wolves appeared on every side, some coming up 
within a few feet of our troika and then stopping sud- 
denly to stare at us. Such howling I never before or 
since heard, the forest being apparently full of the hate- 
ful brutes, and every howl seeming to multiply the num- 
ber. At length they grew so fearless that several would 
run out quickly and snap at the horses and then dart back 
again. I now saw that it was full time for action, as 
each moment served to embolden them, and once they 
should attack our horses little chance would remain for 
escape. Bringing my gun up, therefore, I shot one 
of the wolves, and scarcely did his blood stain the snow 
before not less than one hundred piled on the wounded 
animal and tore him limb from limb almost instantly. I 
then fired two other shots into the pack and must have 
wounded several others, judging from the snarling and 
growling which succeeded. Looking back to observe the 
effects of my shots I could see a myriad of wolves run- 
ning to where the others were feasting, until they were 
like flies in summer time swarming over a putrefying car- 


" It was only a few minutes after I had shot, and before 
we got out of sight of the pack, when every vestige of the 
wounded wolves had disappeared in the voracious maws 
of their comrades, and the latter were again soon howling 
after us. 

" The rest which our horses had by reason of the acci- 
dents already described was very advantageous to us, for 
they were now put to their full speed without showing 
any suffering; but this speed could not avail against the 
wolves, which gained on us so rapidly that before we had 
gone six versts from where I fired my first shot they were 
upon us again. When they reached the troika and were 
ready to spring in, I shot two more, which were immedi- 
ately pounced upon by the entire pack, so we made 
another gain of two versts before they left this second 
feast and were upon us again. 

" I had every reason for husbanding my shots, for our 
escape lay in keeping the wolves from us by killing one 
of their number at a time, so as to distract the pack. 
I therefore continued this desultory warfare until my last 
cartridge had been fired, and we were yet nearly ten 
versts from Alexandreffsky. I had caused the death of 
perhaps twenty-five or more wolves, but there was no 
apparent diminution in number, nor were there any mani- 
festations of abandoning the attack on the part of those 
that had survived. Our horses had now become badly 
jaded, my driver almost lost his reason through fright, 
and the little hope I had left was hardly bright enough to 
show on a back-ground of despondency. I was not per- 
mitted to lapse into a reflective mood, however, for the 
hungry, carnivorous, blood-loving wolves came after us 
on lightning feet, their red tongues lolling out between 
vicious fangs which sometimes snapped together as though 
they felt our flesh already between their teeth. My gun 



was now useless, but I carried it in my muffled robes until 
the wolves came so near that they tried to leap upon me ; 
then I wielded it as a bludgeon with excellent effect, 
killing three, or wounding them so that they were fallen 
upon and quickly devoured. But this successful way of 

re P ellin g their at- 
tacks did not avail us 
long, for while I 
combatted with more 
than a score, nearly 
ten times that num- 
ber ran ahead and at- 
tacked the horses. I 
now felt that it was 
tim e to abandon hope , 
cross myself and fall 
to praying, but our 
poor horses battled 
so nobly for life that 
I was encouraged by 
their acts. The two 
outsiders ran on at 
full speed for nearly 
a verst, while wolves 
were hanging at their 
haunches and throats 
or cutting great 
gashes in their legs 
and sides. I was 
astonished to see the 
horses survive so long, but when one fell at length 
the others could go no further, and here our last 
efforts were made to protect our lives. My driver, hav- 
ing nothing with which to defend himself, was, despite 


inv exertions, draped from his seat by three strong 

/ O 

wolves, and as he fell upon the snow his cries for aid 
almost set me wild. Oh, how the poor fellow prayed and 
called to me while the ferocious beasts stripped the flesh 
from his bones until death ended the torture he endured. 
Our horses shared my driver's fate, while with almost 
superhuman strength I wielded my gun and scattered 
about me nearly fifty of the wolves that had attacked 
myself and driver. How I came out of that fiery fur- 
nace alive it is almost impossible for me to say, for I 
fought for many minutes, which seemed an age, before 
assistance came in the person of two exile moujiks who 
bravely seized clubs and rushed to my aid. We were 
almost on the outskirts of Alexandreffsky, and the noise 
created by our terrible encounter so*m brought others to 
the scene of action. My escape was chiefly due to the 
successful attack on the horses and driver, their bodies 
serving to draw away from me nearly all the pack. But 
when relieved at last, upon examination I found that my 
clothes were literally in shreds, and on my hands and 
legs were several severe scratches which, in my excited 
condition, I had not before discovered. 

" The wolves were driven away by shooting and beating, 
but not until the horses had been almost entirely devoured, 
and of the guide there only remained a grinning skull 
bare of flesh, the half of one hand, and a portion of his 
back and pelvic bone ; his limbs had been torn asunder 
and carried off by greedy members of the pack to some 
place where they could munch the bones undisturbed. 
Of my rifle there remained only the barrel , the stock hav- 
ing been broken and lost, and nothing in my possession 
do I esteem so valuable as this relic of the saddest ex- 
perience and adventure in all my life." 

We all applauded heartily the Governor's story, which 




was undoubtedly true, and this approbation stimulated 
others to relate their encounters with wild animals of the 
northern tundras ; but I was too sleepy to take any 
further interest in Siberian adventures, and stole off to 

Having gathered about all the information accessible at 
Yeniseisk, on the following day I started for Irkoutsk, by 
way of Krasnoiarsk, distant eight hundred miles. The 
return trip to Krasnoiarsk was not without trouble on 
account of snow, which had fallen to a depth of fully 
six inches ; but I decided to hold to my tumbril rather 
than buy a troika (sledge) because I felt quite sure, as did 
Schleuter, that we should find no snow on the regular 
transport route, which we would reach in less than two 
days' travelling. 

We had not proceeded more than half a dozen miles 
from Yeniseisk before I saw two wolves dart across the road 
about one hundred yards ahead of us. Quickly the 
Ispravnik's story came back to me and I pictured myself 
in the midst of a ferocious pack with not so much as a 
club for defence. Every few minutes my forebodings 
were intensified by seeing one or more wolves not far dis- 
tant from us, a fact which did not appear to give Schleu- 
ter the least alarm, while I was continually forming reso- 
lutions what to do when ' ' worse should come to worse." 

Let me assure the reader that we did not camp out ; 30 
far from being satisfied with a big fire and a warm bed in 
the tumbril, I was quite willing to forego comforts for 
the protection of an inn, one of which we found about 
nine o'clock in the evening. 

" Expect nothing and you will not be disappointed," 
is an old saying which none should forget while travel- 
ling in Siberia, but its moral was lost en me when, on 
proceeding to bed at the inn, I found no where to lay 


my head except on the floor, mid no coverings except 
those of my own providing. But there were no wolves, 
bears or dreadful night-mares, so that the night was 
spent with really less discomfort than I had anticipated. 
Upon arriving at Krasnoiarsk I sold my three horses 
for the same money I had paid for them and started on 
to Irkoutsk by post conveyance, which is more than twice 
as rapid as I could have travelled with a single team. 
We lost no time in preparation, but immediately after 
disposing of my horses we got a fresh team and a yem- 
tschik who was lineally descended from Jehu. It is as- 
tonishing how rapidly one can travel in Siberia, when he 
is willing to pay for fast driving. It is told that the late 
Czar on one occasion sent a courier to Irkoutsk with in- 
structions to bring back to St. Petersburg, at the earliest 
possible moment, a distinguished person who had been 
exiled and was at the time in the Irkoutsk mines. So 
regardful was the courier of his order that he brought 
the offender from Irkoutsk to St. Petersburg distance 
3,500 miles in just eleven days, making the incredible 
speed of three hundred and eighteen miles per day, or 
fourteen miles per hour. Having no desire to exagger- 
ate this story I will say that 1,000 miles of the journey 
was performed by rail, and perhaps 500 by steamer. But it 
is not an uncommon thing for the Czar's couriers to make 
200 miles per day. In such cases the horses must suf- 
fer, though each relay is driven not more than twelve or 
fifteen miles. When extraordinary haste is necessary 
everything must give way on the road to the courier, who 
telegraphs ahead for horses, and has the swiftest reserved 
for him. When an animal falls dead in harness, which 
they frequently do, the courier cuts off one ear from the 
horse, and drives on, with the remaining horses, to the 
next station. The ears thus preserved are shown to the 


Czar as a proof of the speed with which the courier exe- 
cuted his mission. 

Four days of rapid travelling brought us to Irkoutsk, 
which is 600 miles from Krasnoiarsk. On the road we 
passed only one small convoy of prisoners, the officers of 
which I did not consider it worth my time to interrogate, 
as they were half-drunk and inclined to be quarrelsome. 

At Nijni Udinsk we stopped only a short time, prefer- 
ring not to visit the mines there until upon my return, as 
I was anxious to reach Irkoutsk in time to see the races, 
which I was told had already begun and would continue 
only two or three days longer. 


IRKOUTSK is a handsome city, situated very much like 
New York, being built on a tongue of land formed by a 
sharp curve in the Angara River. The place contains a 
population of nearly 35,000, and among its buildings are 
a score of churches of elegant architectural design and 

~ o 

expensive finish. 

We had to cross the Angara by hand-ferry, but upon 
reaching the city's side more than a dozen droshky driv- 
ers beseiged us, like hackmen in American cities, one of 
whom we engaged to take us and our luggage to De- 
coque's hotel, where I was rejoiced to find that the mana- 
ger could speak a little English. 

Irkoutsk is next to Yeniseisk in age, having been found- 
ed in 1680, the former in 1618. It has become the great- 
est mart on the overland route between China and Rus- 
sia, while many of the more devout, whose minds in- 
cline constantly to sacred things, regard it as a holy city, 


particularly as Siberia's patron saint lies buried there. 
The climate is said to be very fine, except in the fall, when 
heavy fogs prevail that are infinitely more disagreeable than 
the rainy season in San Francisco, which is saying a great 
deal. My experience may be exceptional, but it has always 
happened that in visiting a strange country I invariably 
arrive just in the very worst season, or at least the na- 
tives tell me so. But I have suspected, many times, that 
these assurances of exceptional weather proceeded from 
local prejudice, or the common love for home place. 
Any how, I struck Irkoutskin a bad spell, for it was not 
only snowing with great violence but there was a fearful 
wind blowing which seemed to gather up big drifts of 
snow for the sole purpose of dashing them into people's 
eyes. This wretched blizzard put a temporary stop to 
horse racing, but during the night there occurred a great 
change for the better, the wind ceased entirely, and when 
morning broke Aurora burst upon a beautiful scene. At 
breakfast every one present was talking about the races, 
and when I went out upon the street nothing else seemed 
to be thought of. In fact I soon learned that horse rac- 
ing at Irkoutsk served the same purpose there that pool- 
rooms and market quotations in exchanges and bucket- 
shops do in this country they are the popular resources 
of speculators. 

I drove out about noon with my guide to the race- 
course, which, was a mile track situated some distance out 
of the city proper, and only partly enclosed by a very 
low fence. On that side the track next to the town there 
was a pavillion, in which the Governor, judges, and a few 
other privileged persons stood seats were nowhere pro- 
vided and conducted the racing. I was amused to wit- 
ness the preparations, as they are so unlike the prelimi- 
naries made by jockeys in other countries. The training 



to which horses entered for racing are subjected appears 
very harsh, if not inhumanly cruel, and generally lasts 

for three weeks. This training consists in riding the 
horses for several hours each day at their greatest speed and 



until they are covered with foam ; they are then tied out in 
an open field over night, under a sharp frost, so that the 
perspiration may freeze in a white coat over their bodies ; 
the Siberians declare thai this treatment (which Avould 
kill nearly any ordinary horse) hardens the muscles and 
at the same time makes the horse more supple. In addi- 
tion to this they will not allow their horses a drop of wa- 
ter for forty-eight hours preceding the race, their theory 
being that water distends the animal's stomach and proves 
a serious impediment to its speed. Horses used in the 
races are not ridden, but driven to a sledge, to which two 
animals are attached, but in reality only one does all the 
pulling, the other being used only to encourage the draught 
horse. All Siberian horses have enormous manes and 
tails, the former reaching to their knees and the latter 
often dragging a foot or more on the ground ; but that 
this profuse growth may not interfere with the running, 
the tail and mane are tied up in leather straps which im- 
part a rather grotesque appearance to the horses. 

After witnessing several races I returned to the city 
and paid a visit to the prisons, which are located on a level 
strip of ground on the opposite shore of the Irkut River, 
a small stream which bounds one side of Irkoutsk. I was 
chagrined, however, on applying for admission to the 
prison to meet with a flat refusal, and though I produced 
my letter from the St. Petersburg ministry request ing that 
every facility be afforded me in my investigations, the 
officer was none the less obstinate, but before leaving he 
told me I would be admitted on the following day. I 
was therefore compelled to return and await his disposi- 
tion, which leisure interval I improved by returning to 
Irkoutsk to gather such stray facts as might offer. 
Through rare fortune I fell in with an exile who had 
served several years in the mines at Kara, under a hard 



labor sentence, but through the influence of friends at 
St. Petersburg hud the remainder of his sentence commu- 
ted to simple exile in the Irkoutsk Government. Through 

Schleuter I obtained from this unfortunate man a thor- 
ough and undeniably truthful statement of the treatment 
accorded to convicts at the Kara mines, and^I present it 
here with the full assurance that it is not in the least ex- 


aggerated, for Schleuter himself had many ways of ver- 
ifying and attesting all the facts. 

His statements to me, made in the course of several 
hours of conversation, embrace the following interesting 
facts : 

The mines at Kara are noted throughout all Eussia 
for the atrocious treatment dealt out to convicts who 
may be sent there. A large majority of the Siberian 
gold mines are no longer worked by convict labor, hav- 
ing passed into the hands of private capitalists, but that 
at Kara is one of those still operated by Government 
authority with convicts who are sentenced to hard labor. 
Both gold and silver are found at Kara, but mining 
for the former is so much more profitable that the 
little silver gathered is from double running in reducing 
the gold-bearing quartz. 

Generally, the number of miners at Kara are from 
300 to 500, and their daily labor is from 13 to 15 hours 
according to the favor which they may find in the officers' 
eyes. In 1857 there was a law passed in Eussia, 
which may be found in Article 569, providing for the 
punishment of convicts. According to this law all those 
sentenced to hard labor must wear heavy irons on their 
wrists and ankles for the period of two years, which is 
called the probation sentence ; if, at the end of two 
years, the convict is reported as having conducted himself 
in a humble, contrite and thoroughly acceptable manner 
to the officer in whose charge the exile may be, then this 
first sentence is considered served, and he begins on the 
second part of his sentence, which is apportioned as fol- 
lows : Those condemned for life must wear the heaviest 
shackles for a period of eight years (additional to the 
probation sentence) ; those condemned for twenty years 
wear the shackles six years ; for fifteen years, they weav 


them four years ; for twelve years, they wear them three 
years ; for eight years, they wear them two years ; for 
six years, they wear them eighteen months ; and for 
four years, twelve months. So that in any event a hard 
labor exile must wear the most galling fetters upon his 
hands and ankles for a period of not less than three 
years. But this law, harsh, nay inhuman in all its phases, 
does not disclose all the heinousness of its application by 
officials in Siberia entrusted with its administration, 
for since ignorant and more brutal guards are made 
the censors of each exile's conduct, it is in their power 
to indefinitely extend the probationary period and 
keep a poor sufferer in chains so long as the guard's 
own pleasure may dictate. That this is the construction 
put upon the law by many Governors of penal colonies 
cannot be disputed in the face of a thousand living wit- 
nesses now slowly dying from torture and exposure in 
the eastern mines where it is applied. 

In justice to Russia it must be said, however, that the 
crimes thus committed against humanity are only indi- 
rectly chargable to the Government ; some discretionary 
powers must be accorded Governors of penal districts 
lying so remote from the chief administration ; that this 
necessary power should sometimes be abused is so natu- 
ral that the result is identical in all countries, being co-ex- 
tensive with the good and bad qualities of human nature. 
Not a few instances have occurred where Governors with 
brutal tendencies have been recalled to St. Petersburg 
and upon the establishment of charges preferred against 
them for cruelty, they have suffered the penalty of a, 
stern and exacting law. 

Another erroneous impression prevails very generally, 
but which has not the slightest foundation in fact, viz. : 
that exiles are compelled to labor in quick-silver mines 


until their hair falls out and the flesh drops away from their 
bones. This error is inexcusable, because there is no 
such thing as a quick-silver mine in all Siberia ; and yet 
the Government has been time and again charged (by 
those who must know that they are falsify ing facts) with 
forcing thousands of men and women down into these 
caverns of insidious death each year. The truth con- 
cerning convict labor in the mines is dreadful enough, 
without any exaggeration or misrepresentation. 

For many years the mining at Kara was conducted 
above ground, but as the placers became exhausted tun- 
nels were sunk which resulted in the finding of much 
richer gold-bearing ore than the placers yielded. This 
discovery, though highly beneficial to the Government, 
proved disastrous to those whose enforced labor had un- 
covered the new auriferous deposits. Men who before 
were compelled to work fifteen hours each day with task- 
masters over them, had, at least, the blessed sun-light to 
kiss their heads like sympathetic ministrations from 
heaven ; they could hear, in summer time, the cheerful 
songs of many birds, and in winter there were great fields 
of snow laughing under the inconstant sun, or grown so 
bleak that all nature appeared to share the convicts' hard- 
ships. It is astonishing what inconsiderable circumstan- 
ces serve to console one when doomed to the never pity- 
ing injustice of those appointed to watch over and pun- 
ish hard-labor exiles. To many of the superstitious 
unfortunates there is luck in having a bird perch on a 
branch above them ; good news is expected to follow the 
song of a bird after sunset, and should a bird light upon 
the shovel or barrow of a convict it presages to the one 
who handles the implement, news from home promis- 
ing his speedy release. So are the moonbeams considered 
as harbingers of fate ; if a convict be wakened at night 


by the moon shining in his face, he regards it as an omen 
of fortune : that he will hear from home, be transferred 
to more comfortable quarters, or in some other way be- 
come the legatee of good luck. 

All ambitions, hopes, and agreeable superstitions are 
suppressed in the heart of every exile when he is forced 
to labor underground ; it is to them a departure from the 
earth into the abodes of evil spirits where mercy is un- 
known. In consequence of this very prevalent belief 
among exiles they suffer in mind more perhaps than phy- 
sically, from the extreme punishment which is really 
inflicted upon them. 

In Kara, my informant assured me, as described on 
page 229 of a work entitled " The Russians of To-Day," 
"there are scores who never see the light of day, but 
work and sleep all the year round in the depths of the earth, 
extracting silver under the eyes of task-masters, who 
have orders not to spare them. Iron gates guarded by 
sentries close the lodes, or streets, at the bottom of the 
shafts, and miners are railed off from one another in 
gangs of twenty. They sleep within recesses hewn out 
of the rock very kennels into which they must creep 
on all fours." Nearly all these prisoners are constantly 
loaded with chains, while each has a daily task to perform, 
or come under the terrible discipline of the knout, plete, 
or scorpion. 

Nearly all the convicts at Kara are political offenders, 
against whom there is such prejudice among Government 
officials that they are tortured to the limit of cruel inge- 
nuity ; it is not one in twenty that can survive the 
cruelties inflicted here without becoming hopelessly in- 
sane. There is a prison-hospital established at Kara in 
which none are cared for except those who receive cor- 
poral punishment from the officers. So inhumanly se- 


vere is this administration of injustice that after its 
application the poor victim is little more than a piece of 
bleeding, unconscious flesh ; from the room of punish- 
ment he is carried to a ward, provided with small cots, at 
the foot of which is written the word " Costegcetis," 
meaning, " an offender well birched." But though it is 
called a hospital, the treatment is little calculated to im- 
prove the patients' condition, they being literally left to 
help themselves, the policy being that a dead convict is 
better than a live one. This ward exceeds in terror any 
portions of an insane asylum ; the poor sufferers are either 
dumb from unconsciousness, or raving with delirium ; 
some are lying like sheeted ghosts, their eyes half-closed, 
and one might suppose them dead but for their deep and 
sonorous respiration, indicative of approaching dissolution ; 
others are talking in a wild and incoherent manner of 
their wrongs ; or perhaps picturing the loved face of 
some friend or relative back in Russia to whom they talk 
in terms of rare affection ; others yet are storming with 
a passion directed by a mind from which reason has fled ; 
while lastly, on this or that dirty cot is a body purple, 
distorted, with blearing but vacant eyes, the very image 
of powerful agony, the hands clenched and stiff, happily 
dead. The poor wretches, not a few of whom have 
been delicately nurtured, and whose crimes are opposi- 
tion to a Government which they regard as oppressive, 
never receive one word of sympathy, nor are their most 
imperative needs attended to. Those whose brutality 
can punish so severely are not the persons whom we 
might expect would give a morsel of compassion to their 

At Kara an instrument is used to punish convicts 
which differs from any others in use, so far as the knowl- 
edge of my informant extended. He described it as 


three large pieces of raw hide, each three feet long, with 
knots on the end like on knouts ; these three thongs are 
plaited together at one end so as to make a handle, while 
the other ends are loose. A castigation with this instru- 
ment is next to an application of the scorpion . The sev- 
eral modes of punishment practiced at Kara are : whipping 
with the knout, plete, and the instrument just described, 
and sometimes, though rarely, with the scorpion ; the con- 
victs are also disciplined by being shut up in dungeons, 
by slow starvation, increasing their irons, placing them in 
beds of freezing water, and such other tortures as the 
ingenuity of vicious officers may suggest. 

But in addition to these cruelties, all prisoners brought 
to the Kara mines for hard labor are branded on the 
forehead and cheeks with three letters, K A T, which is 
an abreviation of Katarjnik, meaning a hard labor con- 
vict. The instrument used for this purpose is shaped 
like a cup, the larger end being provided with needles set 
so as to pierce the skin to a depth of about one-sixteenth 
of an inch in the shape of the three letters. The convict 
is bound to an upright post in an immovable position, and 
then the instrument is applied to the forehead and each 
cheek, after which a caustic liquid is rubbed briskly on 
the fresh wounds. This produces the most intense pain, 
which does not abate for several days, as the liquid aggra- 
vates the wounds and generally causes them to suppurate. 
When, after weeks, the brand is healed, conspicuous scars 
are left which endure for life ; thus a man who receives 
this stigma, however undeserved it may be, is doomed 
to parade his disgrace to all the world. My informant 
showed me the brands he had received, which resembled 
large and angry ring-worms that had assumed lettered 

The female convicts at Kara receive much more con- 


siderate treatment than the men ; they are not compelled 
to labor in the mines, but are closely confined in iron 
cells at night and made to perform menial chores, and 
are in servitude to the officers during the day time. 
Nearly all those who are there confined are under sen- 
tence for murdering their husbands, a crime o great 
frequency in Rus sia where wives receive little '/,'ner treat- 
ment than blows. Indeed, under the e^riier laws 
of the Russian Church it was a portion of the pre- 
scribed ceremony of marriage for the groc'.p, to carry 
with him to the altar a small whip, which he lay lightly 
upon the bride's back as a token that she should be sub- 
ject to all his wishes or caprices. During the prevalence 
of this strange nuptial rite there was a law in Russia 
which punished wives who murdered their husbands by 
burying them alive up to their necks, and then turning 
dogs loose to feed on the exposed heads. 

My informant said that the danger incurred in at- 
tempts to escape was so great that comparatively few 
convicts, even if they had an opportunity, would take 
the risk. They would not only subject themselves to 
penalties provided by a law which was construed by inhu- 
man officials, but would have to run the risk of starva- 
tion, and also the chance of being shot by some of the 
Siberian tribes who hunt convicts as they would wild 
beasts, shooting them down in order to rob them of their 

I was greatly interested in the exile's relation of how 
convicts are treated at Kara ; the fellow was well educated 
for a Russian peasant, and he did not appear to have any 
particular prejudices against the Government. He had 
served fifteen years at Kara for having, with several stu- 
dents at Kasan, incited a political disturbance in which 
threats of assassination had been freely expressed. His 


sentence was twenty years at hard labor, but, through 
the influence of friends at home, after serving three- 
fourths of his time the remainder of his sentence was com- 
muted to simple exile in the Irkoutsk district ; he was there- 
fore free to go whither he willed inside the territory, and 
might have engaged in business, but I believe he was 
doing nothing except a little hunting and fishing. 

On the following day I again applied for admission 
to the Irkoutsk prisons, but my success was not much 
better than before ; in fact, so unsatisfactory that no 
description of the prisons or treatment accorded the 
convicts could be obtained except from persons in no 
wise connected with the management, so I was compelled 
to return to Irkoutsk and conduct my investigations 
through such sources as were afforded, but these I 
soon found quite sufficient. The suspicion may have 
been already excited that such information as I have given 
is hardly worthy full credence because of having been re- 
ceived from exiles whose prejudices might lead them into 
great exaggerations. Before proceeding further I hope 
to relieve this impression by saying, that I had opportu- 
nities for verifying, in a general way, all the stories I re- 
ceived from exiles ; interviewing more than a dozen who 
had served long periods in the mines, I would have been 
liable to dotect any misstatement, especially since I did 
not talk with more than one exile at a time. In all their 
several statements not the least inconsistency appeared, 
while each declaration was further confirmed to me by 
business men in the various towns I visited in Siberia. I 
did not attempt to interview any prison official, because 
Mr. Lansdell's example was before me ; that they would 
protect themselves by hiding behind a mountain of misrep- 
resentations and denials is perfectly natural, notwithstand- 
ing their statements are made in the very face of established 


facts. I saw with my own eyes quite enough of the hor- 
rible treatment of Siberian exiles to make me regard 
nearly any story of torture inflicted on Russian convicts 
appear as not improbable, but I have not the least dispo- 
sition to spread the terrible tales of exile suffering which 
have grown, by the accretions of repetition, to monstrous 
proportions. My desire is to tell nothing but the truth, 
and to this end I have not and will not repeat any state- 
ment that I have not sifted and found to rest upon the 
very strongest circumstantial evidence. 


IRKOUTSK is so situated that it is an excellent point 
from whence to gather information respecting the natives 
of Siberia, particularly as a majority of these tribes in- 
habit the northern section and make that city their cen- 
tral trading station. It is said there are thirty different 
tribes in all Siberia, among the more prominent being Tar- 
tars, Ostjaks, Samoy eds, Kirghiz, Jacuts, Goldi,Buriats, 
Zyrians, Koriaks, Tchapogirs, Jukagires, Yogules, Kam- 
tchadals, Coreans, Yakoutes, Gilyaks, Chukchees and 

The Ostjaks, of whom I have already written, have 
some claim to be considered as the aboriginal inhabitants 
of Siberia, occupying the north-western region. They 
are principally found in rude settlements scattered along 
the banks of the Ob or Obi, as far north as Tobolsk. 
Their chief occupations are fishing and hunting. The 
former yields them abundant means of subsistence, as 
the rivers teem with fish ; and hunting supplies them 
with valuable furs for barter. Some of the Ostjaks lead 



a kind of pastoral life, and keep large herds of rein- 
deer, which furnish them with both food and Clothing. 
In summer they live in wretched temporary huts, framed 
of boughs and covered with birch bark. Their filthy 
bodies are but scantily clad. Small in stature, lean and 
lank, with a scared, hang-dog look, and a stupid expression 
on their broad ugly faces, they seem a degraded race. It 
is true that on the water they show to better advantage 
in their light skiffs or canoes, which they manage with 


wonderful dexterity. But the Ostjak is only seen at his 
best in winter, and in that far north which is his home. 
There he leads the primitive life for which he is best 
suited ; and there, warmly clad in the skin of the rein- 
deer, while swiftly gliding on his snow-shoes in pursuit of 
game, or bounding along in the "narta," the sledge 
drawn by dogs or deer, he may feel himself the true lord 
of the snowy wilderness that stretches to the Arctic 
Ocean. The winter habitations of the Ostjaks are rude 



dwellings, built of logs, with an opening at the top for 
the smoke. The light is admitted by means of a rough 
but ingenious contrivance. An aperture made in the hut 
is fitted with a large block of ice, which serves as a 
window, and is renewed at will when it thaws. The 
dress worn by the Ostjaks is of reindeer skins. It con- 
sists of, first, a fur coat, which is seamless, and is slip- 
ped on over the head and reaches to the knee ; next, 
drawers of the same material, fastening round the body ; 



lastly, fur boots, with the hair turned inside. Over this 
dress is worn another, of which the various parts are the 
same, only that the skins are those of the old reindeer, 
the hair of which is thicker and longer. 


Beyond the Arctic Circle, near the Kara Sea, and along 
the estuaries of the Ob and the Yenisei, dwell the Sam- 
oyeds, who in many points resemble the Ostjuks. They, 
too, lead a kind of nomadic life, roaming about in quest 
of pastures for their reindeer, of which they possess 


large herds. They are more inclined to the chase than 
to fishing. Keen and bold hunters, they do not even 
shrink from encountering, single-handed, the huge polar 
bear, with no other weapon than the bow, or a knife fas- 
tened to a pole. They bring to market, at Obdorsk, on 
the Ob and Yeniseisk, the choicest furs ; among the rest, 
a peculiar variety of wolfskin,' much prized by the na- 
tives. The Samoyeds are tall and slender, but the women 
small. The dress of the latter is far more elegant than 
that of their Ostjak neighbors. It is not made of deer- 
skins, but of the different furs, carefully selected with 
a view to effect. 

The Kirghiz Tartars are more southernly in their habi- 
tations, and besides being warlike in disposition are fre- 
quently highwaymen, who have time and again been the 
terror of Siberian travel. They are chiefly engaged rais- 
ing horses and cattle, but though they pursue this voca- 
tion generally with profit they cannot resist the prompt- 
ings of a nature inherited from generation to generation, 
and therefore forage, pillage, rob, with that same relish 
exhibited by their Tartar ancestors many hundred years 
ago. Even within the last few years they have been 
guilty of many abductions, which is a revival of their 
earlier practices. Like the Albanians who, during the 
controversy with Montenegro in 1877, made descents 
upon unprotected villages near the border and carried off 
the most attractive female Montenegrins, so the Kirghiz 
have recently despoiled their Thibetan neighbors and 
made captive many women, carrying them off to their 
ranches and subjecting them to servitude. 

The Buriats inhabit a district in the Trans-Baikal that 
is, beyond Lake Baikal. They are not very numerous, 
but not a few possess considerable wealth and dress in a 
style which, if not exactly magnificently fashionable, is 


very expensive. Many of them live in Yakoutsk, Chita 
and olhi-r f.:r eastern cities, where the females wear dresses 
and jewelry of great value ; but those leading a pastoral 
life live in tents like most of our western Indians. 

The Goldi are a small tribe, numbering about 5,000, 
located along the Amoor river, which is the dividing line 
between Siberia and China, and in the Ussuri district. 
They are nearly allied to the Tunguse in habits and lan- 
guage, but being on the Chinese border and mixing with 
the Manchu, they imitate them in many particulars. 
Formerly the Goldi did not bury their dead, but carried 
them to a dead house where the bodies were left until 
destroyed by time. Notwithstanding the dreadful exha- 
lations of this charnal house friends of the departed paid 
frequent visits to the building to mourn and pray for 
their dead. 

The Gilyaks are a tribe whose numbers I found no 
one could approximate. They inhabit a portion of 
the Island Sakhalein, and also a district adjoining that 
occupied by the Goldi, but there is so great a difference 
between them that no one single feature, in either habit 
or appearance, is common to them both. The Gilyaks 
have so great an aversion for water that they never learn 
to swim or wash themselves. Their subsistence is de- 
rived from fishing and hunting, fish being taken by nets, 
and sometimes by spearing. They are polygamists, es- 
teeming women of no more value than their dogs, but 
polyandry is also practiced ; in case where a woman has 
a patrimony of fair estimation, so many sledge-dogs, so 
much brandy, or so many valuable skins, she can buy as 
many husbands as her means will afford ; but polyandry 
is seldom practiced among them, while polygamy is very 
general. They are the most ignorant people to be found 
in Siberia, and in many respects are like the Congo tribes 



in Central Africa. Sickness among them is treated by 
wearing amulets, and such fatalists are they that on no ac- 
count would one Gilyak attempt to save another's life. 

These people, though ignorant almost beyond belief, 
are uncommonly brave, and while they have many super- 
stitions, there is little connected with their faith that in- 
spires terror. They prefer hunting to any other employ- 
ment, but still use only primitive weapons for taking 



game ; yet there is a superstition which prevents them 
from hunting the tiger or wolf. In Western Siberia 
and Eastern Russia the peasants will not kill a wolf be- 
cause, as it was explained to me, " the surviving compan- 
ions or friends of a wolf will avenge the dead one." 


Many told me that if a peasant refused to kill a wolf his 
flocks would never be molested, but if he did do so the 
wolves would be sure to destroy his stock. 

Bear hunting among the Gilyaks is most exciting sport, 



because it is conducted something after the fashion once 
practiced by ancient Norwegians. Their weapon consists 
of a long pole, to one end of which is attached, by means 
of small strips of raw-hide, a steel spear four inches long 
and two inches broad ; there is also another weapon used, 
but not so commonly as the former, which is made by 
wrapping several sharp-pointed spikes together so that their 
points will extend outward something like the bristles of a 
hedge-hog when rolled up ; this chevaux-de-frize is firmly 
fastened to a long pole, which is then used like the spear. 
This latter weapon is employed to worry the bear by first 


i.Titatiiigthe animal until, enraged, it rushes upon its as- 
sailant ; the Gilyak hunter then defends himself by pre- 
senting his spiked weapon, which the bear seizes only to 
wound itself ; more violently enraged with these self-in- 
Ilicted injuries, the bear endeavors to destroy the spikes 
by biting and squeezing them, until it actually kills itself . 
In using the spear there is really more danger incurred 
than from the spiked weapon, for when a bear is wounded 
with a spear it attacks the hunter, who sometimes be- 


comes the victim. Nothing can equal, for ferocity and 
vitality, the Grizzly bear of North America, but next to 
this animal certainly comes the Russian bear, which is 
equal in all respects to the Grizzly, except in vital pow- 
ers. Yet terrible as it is when fully aroused, the Gil- 
yaks not only attack and slay, with no other weapon than 
a long spear, the most powerful Russian bears, but they 
also capture them alive to provide amusement at annual 
feasts. To capture these dangerous animals a party of 
eight to a dozen men provide themselves with lassoes, 
chains, collars and a muzzle, and in company seek their 
game. Upon finding a bear, however large it may be, 
they proceed to take it prisoner in the following manner : 
Scattering out in a circle they surround the bear and 
gradually contract the circle by driving the animal to- 
wards the center, always taking great care not to excite 
it. Dogs are not used at such times, because they would 
enrage the bear and cause it to break precipitately, so 
that a capture would be impossible. When the circle 
becomes sufficiently contracted everything is made ready 
for two men to cast ther lassoes, and while the attention 
of the bear is directed towards one or more persons, an- 
other of the party nimbly leaps upon the bear's back, as 
the lassoes are thrown, and catching bruin by the ears 
hold his head, assisted by others with the lassoes ; a col- 
lar and muzzle are next adjusted on poor bruin, and he 
then becomes a helpless captive. Should any of the 
hunters be wounded in these dangerous attempts, which 
they very frequently are, they think themselves lucky, 
as such wounds are considered evidences of prowess, and 
to be killed by a bearis esteemed a happy death. 

Bears thus caught are taken to the nearest village, 
where they are kept and fatted on fish, for the approach- 
ing festival . The most important fete day among these 



1. Gilyaks of the Upper Class, and Dog. 2. Bear Trap. 3. Wolf Trap* 4. Fish and Tackle. 


strange people occurs early in January, but on no partic- 
ular date, as the Gilyaks reckon time by the moon. On 
this occasion the captured bear is taken from its cage and 
shackled so it can commit no harm, is dragged or driven 
all around the village and halted before each house, 
where some cabalistic words are repeated, supposed to 
bring good luck. , After this part of the ceremony is 
completed, they lead the animal to some place for water, 
and also serve it with a platter of food ; should the bear 
take both water and food the sacrifice is postponed, but 
owing to its anger it always refuses. The bear is now 
dragged to the place of sacrifice, where it is made fast 
between two posts by means of raw hide ropes connected 
with its collar. Then succeed orgies not unlike those 
practiced by several tribes of Indians about their sacri- 
fices. The bear is beaten with sticks and stones in order 
to make it growl, for manifestations of pain and an- 
ger from the animal are taken as answers to the entreaties 
of those engaged in the sacrifice for good luck. When at 
length the bear becomes exhausted, the honor of shoot- 
ing it through the heart with an arrow is accorded to 
one who is chosen chief of the ceremonies for that day. 
After its death the bear's head and paws are cut off, the 
former being presented to the village patriarch, and to 
which prayers are offered for a period of six weeks. The 
paws are divided between four popular persons at the 
feast, who keep them for good luck, sometimes wearing 
them for years tied to a string about the neck. In pass- 
ing through a Gilyak settlement it is very common to 
find the ears, jaw-bones, skulls and paws of bears killed 
in such sacrifices as I have described, hung up in trees, 
where they are supposed to exercise a most serviceable 
influence in keeping off evil spirits and bringing good 
luck to the village. 



Iii the Island Sakhalein these ceremonials of bear kill- 
ing are much more frequent than on the Siberian shore, 
for the reason perhaps that the Gilyaks are more nu- 

merous on Sakhalein and because their customs are not 
interfered with or influenced by neighboring tribes. 
The Tunguse are a very numerous people inhabiting 


many parts of Siberia. They are very much like the 
Manchu of China, in appearance, while in habits they 
assimilate with the Esquimaux, being found as far north 
as the Arctic Ocean. In March these people go on snow- 
shoes over snow, into which, at that season, cloven- 
footed animals sink, and shoot elks, roe, and musk deer, 
wild deer and goats ; the tent being fixed in valleys and 
defiles, where the snow lies deepest. In April the ice on 
the rivers begins to move, and the huntsman, now turned 
fisher, hastens to the small rivulets to net his fish. 
Those not required for immediate use are dried against 
the next month, which is one of the least plentiful in the 
year. In May they shoot deer and other game, which 
they have decoyed to certain spots by burning down the 
high grass in the valleys, so that the young sprouts may 
attract the deer and goats. June supplies the hunter 
with antlers of the roe. These they sell at a high price 
to the Chinese for medicinal purposes. In July the na- 
tives spend a large part of the month catching fish, taken 
with nets or speared with harpoons. They are able also 
to spear the elk, which likes a water-plant growing in the 
lakes. He comes down at night, wades into the water, 
and, whilst engaged in tearing at the plant with his teeth, 
is killed by the huntsman. In August they catch birds, 
speared at night in the retired creeks and bays of the 
rivers and lakes. Their flesh, except that of the swan, is 
eaten, and the down is exchanged for ear and finger 
rings, bracelets, beads, and the like. Thus they spend 
the summer months, afterward retiring again to the 
mountains for game. In the beginning of September they 
prepare for winter pursuits. With these people there is 
very little of civilization found ; they live in birch-bark 
tents, and delight in hunting on the tundras ; horses are not 


favorably regarded by them, their domestic draught ani- 
mals being reindeer and dogs ; of the former they pos- 
sess immense herds, so that the fortune of a Tunguse is 
estimated entirely by the number of reindeer he owns. 

The Kirghiz, who are distinct from the Kirghiz Tartars, 
are the largest framed people in Siberia. Some of them 
own large herds of cattle and horses, in South Siberia, 
and have some pretensions of refinement, living in wooden 
houses and adopting a few customs which evidence civili- 
zation ; but as a rule they are beggarly, indolent rapscal- 
lions of the plains. 

They are met with in nearly all the larger cities, ply- 
ing their tricks of juggling, fortune telling and begging ; 
they have not the least acquaintance with work or clean- 
liness, and as a tribe they are generally despised. 

The numerous other tribes of native Siberians are 
hardly worthy of mention, because their numbers are 
very small, and in many respects they are so nearly as- 
similated to the principal tribes by intermarriage and 
nationality that only an ethnologist can distinguish the 
tribal Deculiarities of them all. 


MY journey eastward was concluded at Irkoutsk, which 
I regarded rightfully as the central point of Siberia, at 
which could be daily met people of all ranks from every 
part of the Empire. I was pleased to find that my 
opinion was correct and that here was afforded full and 
ample means of collecting all the facts appertaining to 
exile and commercial life in that portion of the Empire. 
Situated within less than seventy miles of lake Baikal, 





the largest fresh water body on the eastern hemisphere, 
on which ply numerous steamers deriving their business 
chiefly from the overland travel and freightage, and being 
midway on the great transport route, the city could not 
be otherwise than 

cosmopolitan and 
important. Its 
commercial fea- 
tures exceed those 
of Irbit, since in 
1879 that large and 
finest city in Siberia 
was almost totally 
destroyed by fire. 
At all seasons may 
be found on the 
streets of Irkoutsk 
and in its hotels, 
from all over Eu- 
rope. A great deal 
of gold and silver, 
in fact nearly all 
the native product 
from east of Tom- 
sk, is taken to Ir- 
koutsk for refine- 
ment and coinage. 
Nearly every day 
gold trains, guarded by large convoys, or bags of gold- 
dust conveyed by. tarantass, arrive in the city, while 
long files of merchants with goods from China or Eussia 
pass through its streets, so that an air of business is al- 
ways maintained. 


On the second day of my stay in IrkoutskI became ac- 
quainted with an American gentleman who was engaged 
in running a small steamer on the Amoor, but he made so 
many trips to Irkoutsk on business that his acquaintance 
with prominent people of the city was quite extensive. 
His name was Robert M. Gunsollis, and his native place 
a small town in Robinson county, Kentucky. He was 
very glad to see me, and upon disclosing to him the pur- 
poses of my visit to Siberia, he took great interest in as- 
sisting me. Through his kind services I secured an 
introduction to the Governor of Irkoutsk, and several 
merchants, all of whom tendered me their kind offices. 
Mr. Gunsollis was a traveller, and only six months before 
I saw him he had been on the island of Sakhalein spend- 
ing several weeks among the natives and convicts. Being 
a close observer and an uncommonly intelligent man, he 
had gathered a great deal of information of much value 
to the world at large, and as we spent an evening together 
he gave me the advantage of his newly acquired knowl- 
edge respecting Sakhalein. 

This island, which is nearly 600 miles in length, and 
about as large in area as the State of Illinois, was not 
explored until the year 1848, previous to which time it 
was supposed to be a portion of the Siberian, or Man- 
churian mainland. Along the coast it is generally very 
rocky and precipitous, while in the interior there is a 
chain of mountains which rise considerably above the 
limit of vegetation. Nearly every part of the island is 
wild and desolate, with a population of 15,000 persons, 
divided between Gilyaks, Tunguse, Oroks, Kuriles, and 
Ainos, the latter supposed to be the aboriginal popula- 
tion, while all the natives subsist on fish and wild game. 

Nevilskoy, Rear Admiral of the Russian navy, landed 
on the island in 1848 and accomplished a partial explora- 



tion. Ho found it rich with coal, and this discovery led 
his Government to negotiate with Japan (to which the 
island belonged) for its purchase. Russia was in great 
need of a coaling station in the Pacific, and this want 
was supplied by 
a purchase of 
the island about 
t AV e 1 v e years 
ago. Directly 
after the acquire- 
ment of this des- 
olate wilderness, 
suggestions were 
made to Alexan- 
der II. which 
subsequently led 
that Emperor to 
establish penal 
colonies on the 
island, by which 
labor many coal 
mines were open- 
ed and are still 

The port of 
Dui, which is sit- 
uated about the 
center of the 
western coast, is 
a small military AINOS ' A * OR ' G * es OF SAKHALEIN. 

station, but is nevertheless the most important place on the 
Island. It contains five prisons, all of which are small build- 
ings, in which are crowded nearly 2,000 exiles. In winter 
the atmosphere is freezing cold, and but for the crowding 


it would be impossible for the convicts to survive even a 
moderate winter ; as it is, frost-bitten hands and feet are 
very common among the inmates. From Dui, the exiles are 
distributed to various parts of the island as prescribed in 
their sentences. 

The post is garrisoned by 500 men whose inactivity 
and severance from social relations cause their existence to 
be scarcely less unhappy than the exiles whom they 
guard. About one hundred miles south of Dui is another 
post called Korsakovsk, where a small force of soldiers is 
stationed, whose lonesome, unchangeable lives are even 
unrelieved by the sight of the supply vessels which put 
in at Dui two or three times a year. 

Out in the interior are two mines, one of which is called 
Dui mine and the other Dui farm, where a large number 
of convicts are employed, but the coal lies so near the 
surface that all convicts there engaged luckily escape the 
horrors of deep mining ; but while they are not forced 
down into black caverns, away forever from the blessed 
sunlight, as are many convicts in Siberian mines, their 
lots are but one degree less melancholy ; in fact it would 
sometimes appear that officials on Sakhalein are more 
devilishly barbarous than are those at Kara. The knout 
and scorpion are used almost without the shadow of a 
cause ; malignantly brutal keepers, never so content as 
when witnessing the agonies of extreme suffering, ex- 
pend all their surplus force by exercising with instru- 
ments of torture upon the bared backs of convicts. The 
labor jDerfornied in these mines is not so onerous as in 
many mines in Siberia, for the reason that they are 
worked for the Government, while a majority of Siberian 
mines are worked by private corporations interested in 
getting as much out of the exiles as possible. But there 
is little doubt that the punishment of convicts on Sakha- 




lein is greater than that inflicted at any penal establish- 
ment in Siberia proper. 

To escape from these mines is almost impossible, for 
though it would be comparatively easy to get outside the 
guards, there is nothing upon which a convict might sub- 
sist while journeying the 200 miles he would have to go 
before reaching a point where. he could hope to" effect an 
embarkation for the mainland. Besides the dangers of 
starvation there is a reward of three roubles placed upon 
the head of every escaping convict, dead or alive. This 
barbaric outlawry is taken advantage of by the native 
Gilyaks, who prowl through every by-way in search of 
convicts, not with any intention of capturing them, but 
to shoot them down like wild beasts. This system of 
man-hunting is carried on so near the convict quarters 
that many unfortunate exiles, with no thought of attempt- 
ing to escape, fall victims within a stone's throw of their 
barracks, having unknowingly come within range of 
the perfidious Gilyaks, who, upon applying for the re- 
ward, are sure to make out a big story of how they de- 
tected their victims in a desperate effort to escape. The 
proof required before payment is the production of the 
severed head of the convict ; thus, when the Gilyaks kill an 
exile on Sakhalein they cut off his head and carry it to 
the Governor ; and inasmuch as the convicts are all 
branded it is easy to decide whether or not the applicant 
has made any mistake. 

On the lower coast, which is sandy, there is a vegeta- 
ble growth similar to South American Kale, which the 
Amos gather for their own use ; and also for transport 
to Japan, where they sell large quantities of the herb. 
It is said to make a very palatable soup, while its cheap- 
ness recommends it to the Japanese poor. 

The Qraks, who number about 5,000, are hunters and 



fishers ; they live in cone-shaped houses made of thatch, 
which are set on poles about twelve feet above ground. 

Bears are plentiful on the island, and these the Oraks 
kill with spears, in a manner similar to that of the Gilyaks 


of Siberia. Every Orak village has its sacred house, 
which serves as a repository for the bones of those ani- 
mals killed by residents of the village. The interior of 
these sacred houses is filled with all the bones of the bears 
except the skulls, which are placed on poles and set in the 
ground around the building. The Oraks are very super- 
stitious, worshipping no particular deity, but practice 
many singular rites under the belief that they will bring 
them good. They regard no other charm, or amulet, so 
potential as that made of some portion of a bear's skull, 
while all the bones of that animal are supposed to pos- 
sess magical powers, hence the pains taken by each vil- 
lage to preserve them. 

I was anxious to find some one who had visited Mko- 
laefsk, and was familiar with that famous prison, so com- 
municating this desire to Gunsollis, he assured me that it 
would not be difficult to find inlrkoutsk persons from any 
part of Siberia ; we therefore went out together the fol- 
lowing day, and before an hour had elapsed he found 
three different persons thoroughly familiar with Niko- 
laefsk, one of whom had been an exile there some years 
ago. Through the assistance of Gunsollis and Schleuter 
I obtained from these a large fund of information re- 
specting that dreaded prison, which, in some respects, is 
said to be more feared than Kara. 

Nikolaefsk is situated near the extreme eastern coast 
of Siberia, on a neck of the Gulf of Tartary and oppo- 
site the north-west coast of Sakhalein, or, more properly, 
at the mouth of the Amoor River. It contains a pop- 
ulation of about 5,000, and has a few really excellent 
buildings. My informants dispelled the popular impres- 
sion concerning the treatment of prisoners there, and 
assured me that the belief of cruelties practiced by Nik- 
olaefsk officials arose out of the fact that it lies at the 



l.Ainos Kale Hunters. 2. Anlva Harbor. 3; Orok Dwellings. 4. Island Gilyaks. 5. Port DuL 
7, Korsakovtk. 8. Kuriles. 9. Orok Hunters. 


end of overland travel. Convicts who are sent by the 
transport route to Sakhalein here conclude their 4000 
miles of foot journey, and the few who survive the ter- 
rors of such a march are so broken down by their loads 
of chains and unexampled miseries that they are quite 
ready to regard this last place on the journey as a very 
hades. This impression also extends to visitors, because 
in no other place can such emaciated, sorrowful looking 
people be seen, nearly one-half of whom are insane. It 
is not an unusual sight to witness many patients in the 
Nikolaefsk hospitals, the skin on whose wrists and ankles 
is worn entirely away by heavy chains, leaving exposed 
the raw and angry tendons. 

The climate about Nikolaefsk is dreadfully severe in 
winter, and on account of imperfect protection many 
convicts die there in the prisons of cold. Yet there is a 
humanity among the officers at these prisons found at 
few other penal stations in Siberia ; the sufferings of 
convicts are attended to by a commission who derive, in 
addition to a salary from the Government, contributions 
from those who are charitably disposed, which latter is 
greater tnaii the salaries. When the exiles are so far re- 
covered as to be able to proceed to Sakhalein they are 
taken by a Russian man-of-war to port Dui and there 

It very frequently happens that rather than go to Sak- 
halein the convicts will attempt to escape from Nikolaef sk, 
sometimes in squads and at others singly or in small par- 
ties. Formerly there was a reward offered in all of east 
Siberia, by governors of the several districts, for the 
head of every escaping convict, like that which still pre- 
vails in Sakhalein. During the continuance of this bar- 
barous regulation several native tribes left off fishing 
and hunting wild animals, and took up the new occupa- 



tion of hunting exiles. Such of those as could secure 
guns conducted a thriving business in summer time when 
the number of fugitives was greatest. These head hunt- 
ers went on horseback, and around their waists they 
wore a broad belt to which they tied the heads of their 
victims. When a convict was found by these murderous 
heathen they showed him no mercy, but shot him down ; 
if the wound did not prove fatal, but sufficient to bring 


the victim to the ground, the hunter rushed upon him 
with a large knife and cut off his head ; strings were 
then made fast to the hair by which the severed head was 
tied to the hunter's belt. The body was also stripped of 
its clothing, which, though generally old and composed 
of nothing but reindeer skins, was valued so highly that 
since the withdrawal of money rewards by governors,. 




these hunters continued shooting convicts merely for 
their clothes. Headquarters for the payment of these 
rewards was Irbit, Irkoutsk, Yakoutsk, and Yeniseisk, 
but a hunter might have his heads cashed at nearly any 
post-station by accepting a liberal discount. 

Even to this day not a few exiles are killed every year 
by Gilyaks and Tartars for no other reward than the 
clothes worn by the unfortunate men ; for though the 
Government no longer pays a premium for heads, it ex- 
empts the murderer of an escaping hard-labor exile from 

It is told that in September of 1856, a battalion of 
soldiers started from Nikolaefsk up the Amoor land 
route for Shilkinsk Zavod, but after proceeding less than 
a hundred versts they were overtaken by a snow-storm 
which so blinded them that progress was impossible, and to 
keep from freezing they were compelled to bundle to- 
gether. But a more horrible death than that by freezing 
soon threatened, for having provided themselves with ra- 
tions for only a few days their store of food failed them. 
Grim necessity was fought against until at last they were 
forced by hunger to draw lots to decide who should be 
sacrificed that their bodies might furnish food for the 
more fortunate. Nearly one-twentieth of the command 
was killed in this way and eaten by their comrades. 

Though no cases of cannibalism are known among con- 
victs who were trying to effect an escape, there are hun- 
dreds of incidents where they have been frozen to death 
and their bodies found in the forests or on the highways. 
So sympathetic are the people of Siberia, and particularly 
do they so well know the sufferings which every exile 
must undergo while fleeing for liberty, that it is their 
custom, just before retiring each night, to place some 
bread and salt on the outside window-sill, where it may 



be convenient to any one 
passing by ; many a poor 
fugitive has thus been fed 
and his life preserved. 

There is one other dis- 
tributing point, or etape 
prison, on the Siberian 
coast, Yladivostock, which 
is a place of considerable 
commercial importance, in 
fact it is the chief Russian 
sea port on the Pacific. 
There is a considerable 
Russian population in the 
place, which has altogether 
about 10,000 inhabitants, 
but they are not in the ma- 
jority. Situated so near 
China, the town has at- 
tracted a large number of 
Mongolians , notwithstand- 
ing the fact that they are 
treated with great disre- 
spect and on two occasions 
have been ordered out of 
the district, while China 
has vainly tried to prevent 
emigration of her subjects 
to Russian soil. In 1861 
China ceded the sea-coast 
to Russia and at the same 
time prohibited her sub- 
jects from colonizing on 
Siberian soil with their 
wives. The rich Chinese 



therefore returned home, leaving the poor who were 
next to outlawed by the rigorous legal requirements 
which they were unable to obey ; they naturally drifted 
into crime, and being soon after joined by Manchu brig- 
ands, known as Manzas, there succeeded a regular pirati- 
cal organization which has not yet been entirely suppressed . 
These Manzas robbers are upon both land and water, kill- 
ing on the highways and scuttling small crafts on the 


coastwaters, so that travelling through the Primorsk dis- 
trict is always very dangerous. 

The Coreans are also in considerable numbers about 
Vladivostock, and because of their frugal, industrious 
habits they are despised and beaten by the Russ popula- 
tion. This treatment is due to the identical causes which 
have operated in San Francisco against the Chinese, for 
inasmuch as nearly one-half of the commodities used by 
the better classes in the Primorsk are of American pro- 
duction, the merchant and mechanic think that American 
prices and wages should obtain in Vladivostock. The 


Coreans, however, are willing to work for very small 
wages and 'their bartering is conducted on small margins, 
hence the race prejudice. The Government of Coreahas 
attempted to arrest emigration by making it a capital of- 
fence for any of its subjects to settle in a foreign country. 
This law had a dreadful enforcement in 18G8, when 1,400 
Coreans were run out of the Primorsk and upon returning 
to Corea they were summarily beheaded. 


THE most interesting district in Siberia is about Yak- 
outsk, which is a city of 6,000 inhabitants, and the capi- 
tal of the Yakoutsk Government. A large trade is car- 
ried on between Irkoutsk and Yakoutsk, so that I had no 
difficulty in finding scores of persons who had been long 
residents of the latter place, and would give me whatever 
information I desired concerning it. By Schleuter's as- 
sistance I interviewed the military Governor of Yakoutsk, 
who was on a visit to Irkoutsk, and to whom I was intro- 
duced by the Governor of the latter place. It was my 
good fortune also to find and talk with three men who 
had served short sentences of exile near Yakoutsk. From 
these several sources I gained a very satisfactory descrip- 
tion of life in and about the city. 

The government of Yakoutsk is the largest in Siberia, 
covering an area greater than that of all Europe, if we 
except Russia. The town itself, situated on the Lena 
River, in 65 north latitude, presents an odd blending of 
cosmopolite architecture, from the graceful styles adopt- 
ed by Russian nobility to the summer yourtsoi the native 
Yakutes. Generally considered, however, there are few 



modern appearances about the place ; instead of using 
horses or reindeer for draught purposes, oxen are chosen, 
and these slow, plodding creatures are also used for rid- 
ing ; but a still more grotesque characteristic of the city 
is found in the fact that, discarding horses and the con- 


ventional ways of other countries, the ladies of Yakoutsk 
ride on the backs of oxen a-straddle. I cannot well 
imagine a more humorous sight than a Yakoutsk belle, 
dressed in the bright toggery peculiar to fashion, going 
out shopping in the city astride a mewling ox whose 


shambling gait is marked by sinuous droolings, and whose 
whisking tail in summer time laps up little pools of 
sewage in the streets to distribute in a delicate spray 
over the fair rider. 

Yakoutsk is said to be the coldest spot on earth ; from 
December 1st to February 1st, the mean temperature be- 
ing 58 Fah. below zero, while not infrequently it reach- 
es 80 below. Extreme as this cold is, no particular dis- 
comfort is experienced ; while the mercury is frozen 
market women may be seen standing before their wares 
with arms bared above the elbows, laughing and chatting 
as if the weather were delightful. In sledge travelling 
during such temperature, the driver sleeps in the clothing 
he wears all day, and will curl up in his vehicle at night, 
draw the fur hood of his great coat over his head and 
sleep under the shivering stars, and no doubt dream of 
violets and primroses bursting into life under a warm, ex- 
hilarating, spring time sun. 

The Russian population of the Yakoutsk Government is 
confined chiefly to the Upper Lena, Yakoutsk and its 
vicinity. The Tunguse are also found on the eastern 
and western confines of the district, but are rarely met 
with in the interior. There is another race called the 
Yukaghirs, in the province, whose numbers are computed 
at about 2,000, but so wild is their nature that their ethno- 
logical peculiarities are but little known. They are only 
met with near the Arctic shores, between the Yana and 
Kolima rivers. They were once a very powerful tribe, so 
tradition says, and which statement is" partly proved by 
the tumuli and burial places still to be found along the 
Lena river. These relics of former tribal power contain 
human bones, bows, arrows, spears, and an instrument 
similar to that occasionally found among the more ignor- 
ant Laplanders, which they call a " magic drum," but it 


resembles a pot more than a drum, being of considerable 
depth and closed at one end with reindeer skin. 

The Yukaghirs live almost entirely on the reindeer they 
kill during spring and autumn. At these seasons a mos- 
quito, not unlike the buffalo gnat of our Mississippi bot- 
toms, and so numerous that at times they almost darken 
the sky, so torment the reindeer that they seek 
refuge in the rivers, where they remain until winter sets 
in. This habit is taken advantage of by the Yukaghirs, 
who post themselves under cover beside a frequented 
stream and await the reindeer, which come down from 
neighboring forests in immense herds and enter the water. 
When the animals have taken to the stream they are set 
upon by the hunters, who appear on both sides and with 
long spears slaughter great numbers. 

The Yukaghirs are inveterate smokers of a tobacco 


grown in the Ukraine, which they mix with small, half- 
decayed chips so as to make it go further ; in smoking 
not a whiff is allowed to escape into the air, but all is in- 
haled and swallowed, producing an effect somewhat sim- 
ilar to a mild dose of opium. Tobacco is considered 
their first and greatest luxury. Women and children all 
smoke, the latter learning to do so as soon as they are able 
to toddle. Any funds remaining after the supply of 
tobacco has been laid in are devoted to the purchase of 
brandy. A Yukaghir, it is said, never intoxicates him- 
self alone, but calls upon his family to share the drink, 
even children in arms being supplied with a portion. 

In the center of the Yakutsk province, occupying the 
valley of the Lena, roam the Yakutes, some of whom are 
met as far off as Nikolaef sk. They are of middle height, 
and of a light copper color, with black hair, which the 
men cut close. The sharp lines of their faces express 
indolent and amiable gentleness rather than vigor and 


passion. They bear a close resemblance to the North 
American Indians ; their appearance is that of a people 
who have grown wild rather than of a thoroughly and 
originally rude race. Those who have been long settled 
among the Russians have perhaps become somewhat 
more polished than their wandering brethren. As a nice 
they are good-tempered, orderly, hospitable, and capable 
of enduring great privation with patience ; but in inde- 
pendence of character they contrast unfavorably with 
their Tunguse neighbors. Lay a finger in anger on one 
of the Tunguse, and nothing will induce him to forget 
the insult ; whereas with the Yakutes, the more they are 
thrashed the better they work.* 

The winter dwellings of the people have doors of raw 
hides, and log or wicker rwalls calked with cow-dung, 
and flanked with banks of earth to the height of the 
windows. The latter are made of sheets of ice, kept in 
their place from the outside by a slanting pole, the lower 
end of which is fixed in the ground. They are rendered 
air-tight by pouring on water, which quickly freezes 
round the edges ; and the fact that it takes a long time 
to melt these blocks of ice thus fixed is highly suggestive 
of what the temperature must be, both without and 
within. The flat roof is covered with earth, and over the 
door, facing the east, the boards project, making a cov- 
ered place in front, like the natives' houses in the Cau- 
casus. Under the same roof are the winter shelters for 
the cows and for the people, the former being the larger. 

* Strahlenberg divides them into 10 tribes, and Syboreen's Almanack for 1876 
gives their number at 210,000. They belong to the great Turk family, and 
hence their Siberian locality is remarkable, because the Turks have ever been 
the people to displace others, whereas the Yakutes have been themselves dis- 
placed, and driven into this inhospitable climate, it is supposed, by the 
stronger Buriats, 



1. & 2 Summer Houses of the liUiles. 3. & . Inferior views of same. *. Types of the Burl Population. 

0. Grave Yard. 


The fireplace consists of a wicker frame plastered over 
with clay, room being left for a man to pass between the 
fireplace and the wall. The hearth is made of beaten 
earth, and on it there is at all times a blazing fire, 
and logs of larch-wood throw up showers of sparks to 
the roof. Young calves, like children, are brought into 
the house to the fire, whilst their mothers cast a con- 
tented look through the open door at the back of the 
fireplace. Behind the fireplace, too, are the sleeping- 
places of the people, which in the poorer dwellings con- 
sists of only a continuation of the straw laid in the cow- 

In the winter they have about five hours of <Jay light, 
which penetrates as best it can through the icy windows ; 
and in the evening all the party sit round the fire on low 
stools, men and women smoking. The summer yourts of 
these people are formed of poles about 20 feet long, 
which are united at the top into a roomy cone, covered 
with pieces of bright yellow and perfectly flexible birch 
bark, which are not merely joined together, but are also 
handsomely worked along the seams with horsehair thread . 

The houses are not overstocked with furniture, and the 
chief cooking utensil is a large iron pot. At the time of 
the invasion of the Russians, this article was deemed such 
a treasure that the price asked for a pot was as many 
sable-skins as would fill it. They use also in winter a 
bowl-shaped frame of wicker work, plastered with fro- 
zen cow-dung, in which they pound their porridge. With 
regard to their food, the Yakutes, if they have their 
choice, love to eat horse-flesh ; and their adage says that 
to eat much meat, and grow fat upon it, is the highest 
destiny of man. They are the greatest gluttons. So far 
back as the days of Strahlenberg, it was said that four 
would eat a horse. They rarely kill their oxen 


for food ; and ut a wedding, the favorite dish served up 
by the bride to her future lord is a boiled horse's head, 
with horse-flesh sausages. When, however, horse-flesh 
or beef is wanting, they are not at all nice as to what 
they consume, for they eat the animals they take for fur, 
and woe to the unfortunate horse that becomes seriously 
injured in travel ! It is killed and eaten then and there, 
the men taking off their girdles to give fair play to their 
stomachs, which swell after the fashion of a boa-constric- 
tor. Thus earnestly do they aspire to their notion of the 
highest destiny of man ! Milk is in general request 
among them, whether from cows or mares ; and when 
they are in the neighborhood of the Russians, and can get 
flour, they do so ; but far away in the forests they make 
a sort of porridge or bread, not exactly of sawdust, but 
of the under bark of the spruce, fir, and larch, which 
they cut in small pieces, or pound in a mortar, mixing it 
with in ilk, or with dried fish, or boiling it with glutinous 
tops of the young sprouts. In spring, when the sap is 
rising, they gather the bark harvest. They make also fer- 
mented beverages of milk ; and in the height of summer, 
when the mares foal, an orgie is held, at which the men 
drain enormous bowls of this intoxicating liquor ; whilst 
the women, denied the privilege of intoxication, solace 
themselves by getting as near to it as they can by smok- 
ing tobacco. The distillation of sour milk is also prac- 
ticed, producing a coarse spirit known as ariyui. They 
devour likewise enormous quantities of melted butter. 
This also can be prepared in such a way as to cause in- 
toxication when taken in sufficient quantities. 

The dress of the Yakut os resembles in its main fea- 
tures that of the other natives of Siberia, save, perhaps, 
that they are fonder of ornament. Both sexes riding a 
good deal on oxen and horses, a perpendicular slit is made 


1. Governor's Residence. 2. Bazaar. 3. Lodges of Reindeer Skins. 4. Hospital. 5. 


up the back from the bottom of the synayakli^ or upper 
garment, in order to render the wearer comfortable in 
the saddle, and some of the women wear behind them a 
cushion or pad, to save them from the rough motion of the 
animals. During the milder part of the year a robe, 
made of very pliable leather, stained yellow, is worn, 
which indoors is frequently laid aside, and males and fe- 
males sit by the fire, leaving the upper part of the body 
naked . 

The boots made of this leather worn by the women fit 
tight to the leg, and have at the top a flap of black velvet 
with red cloth trimming, which can be turned down and 
exposed for show in fair weather, or turned up, bringing 
the boots to the thighs. On each foot are two broad 
leather thongs, five or six feet long, to wind around the 
leg. Water-proof boots are also made by the Yakutes, 
which they call Torbosis; these are cut from horse hide, 
steeped in sour milk, then smoked, and lastly rubbed 
well with grease and soot. They will wear indefinitely, 
and are so impervious to dampness that the wearer 
may tramp through water, mud and snow without incon- 

There is a large travel between Yakoutsk and Okhotsk, 
Kamtschatka, distance 800 miles, which is performed by 
the use of dogs, horses and reindeer. The latter, I was 
surprised to learn, are used for riding as much as for 
draught purposes. It is much more difficult to maintain 
one's seat on a reindeer than it is on a camel. To get on 
the animal's back, as one would mount a donkey, would 
probably cripple the deer for life. The saddle is there- 
fore placed on its shoulder, close to the neck, and to 
mount, the rider, holding the bridle, stands at the right 
side of the animal, with his face turned forward. He 
then raises his left foot to the saddle, which he never 


touches with his hands, and springing with the right leg, 
and aided also by a pole, which he holds in his right hand, 
he gains his seat. The native girls and women are as ex- 
pert in this jumping as the men, and rarely want assist- 
ance in mounting. 

The practiced reindeer riders acquire the habit of strik- 
ing gently with the heel, alternately right and left, at 
every step, just behind the animal's shoulders. This is 
done, not for the purpose of stimulating the deer, but be- 
cause the motion described is the surest means of main- 
taining equilibrium. The staff, too, with which the rider 
mounts is carried in his hand, and is used for maintaining 
an equipoise in riding ; but any attempt of the rider, in 
the first critical moment, to support himself by resting 
the staff on the ground, is sure to end in his being 

There is a very large settlement of convicts in the 
Ytikoutsk Government, a greater portion of which is on 
the Lena river. These penal colonies are generally com- 
posed of men and women sent into exile without hard 
labor, in pursuance of an Imperial ukase that contempla- 
ted a settlement of the province. The district about 
Yakoutsk is wonderfully fertile, notwithstanding the fact 
that the ground is frozen to a depth of fifty feet, while 
during the summer it does not thaw out more than three 
feet below the surface. But even with these drawbacks 
to production, the soil is said to yield forty-fold of such 
vegetables as cabbage, potatoes, radishes, turnips and 
gherkins. Emperor Nicholas was very anxious to settle 
this section with an industrious population, and to accom- 
plish this he promulgated an edict designed for the pun- 
ishment of petty offenders, by which they were to be sent 
across Siberia and colonized at the most advantageous 
points in the Yakoutsk Government. It was also this 



idea which prompted Alexander I. to encourage the estab- 
lishment of zemstas, communal parliaments, to which he 
granted powers (heretofore described) to send into exile 
any one of the commune adjudged guilty of vagrancy, 
improvidence, drunkenness, or of any bad example. These 
measures have caused a more general settlement of the 
Yakoutsk Government than any other province in Siberia, 
the population being about 250,000. 


There are penal quarters in the city of Yakoutsk that 
are fairly comfortable. They are made of hewn logs 
joined together by dovetailing and are lined with dry 
clay. These quarters, however, are only for a temporary 
lodgment of prisoners, and are therefore called etape 
prisons ; they rarely contain more than one hundred con- 
victs at one time, as those received are quickly distribut- 


ed to various points in the Government where they are 
made to shift for themselves ; though if a convict be 
accompanied by his family he is assisted for the first three 
years by the Government, which gives him a daily allow- 
ance of about ten cents. Along the Lena these convicts 
are chiefly engaged cutting wood, fishing and hunting. 
Their houses are made of baked cow-dung, because of the 
warmth this material secures, excluding cold much better 
than any other known substance. 

But the most peculiar settlement in Siberia, indeed in 
all the world, is that of the Scopsi, a religious sect 
already mentioned, which is established in a forest 
near Yakoutsk. These people entertain such a singular 
belief that every other phase of fanaticism, whether 
Shamanism, Fakirism or any other absurd ism, appears 
transcendently consistent and wholesome in comparison. 
I have searched through encyclopedias and questioned 
the most learned Russians in vain to find anything con- 
cerning the origin of their strange faith. Nevertheless 
the Scopsi have existed for hundreds of years, but the 
first decree of banishment against them was issued by 
Peter the Great, though in what year I could not learn. 
They found their faith upon the xix chapter, 12th verse, 
of St. Matthew, which reads as follows : 

" For there are some eunuchs, which were so born 
from their mother's womb : and there are some eunuchs, 
which were made eunuchs of men : and there be eunuchs, 
which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of 
heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him re- 
ceive it." 

The interpretation placed upon this text by the Scopsi 
is so literal that if it obtained generally the earth would 
be without any human inhabitants in one generation. 
They also base their doctrine upon some of St. Paul's 



letters, wherein he advises against marriage and inferen- 
tially predicts that the promised millennium can come 
only through a complete abnegation of sexual desires. 
I do not say that Paul intended to discourage the law of 
replenishment, but that the Scopsi so interpret his writ- 

This peculiarly fanatical sect has not only existed in 
Russia, but, despite the most repressive measures under- 


taken by the Government for their suppression, they 
have increased until well informed persons in the Empire 
place their numbers at not less than 10,000. There is a 
law on the Russian statute books making it a crime, pun- 
ishable by deportation, for any one to attend services 
held by the Scopsi, and all who are discovered to be mem- 
bers of, or in sympathy with the sect, are sent into exile 



in the Yakoutsk district. Being denied all civil privi- 
leges the Scopsi nevertheless continue to propagate their 
doctrines by holding services in the thick forests, where 
they hope to escape detection from government spies. 

While in St. Petersburg I met a young man who had 
been forced into an adoption of this singular faith, but 
who was a servant in an aristocratic family of the city. 
While I was interviewing Count Tolstoi this man came in 
to communicate some message from his master to the 
Prime Minister ; his voice and appearance were so strange 
that my curiosity prompted me to enquire about him, 
when the Count informed me of the facts, this being the 
first time I had ever heard of such a sect. I therefore at 
once began to question the fellow, whom I took to be 
about twenty-seven years of age, and was rewarded by 
receiving from him a description of the Scopsi' s prac- 

Not only in retired country places, but also in cities do 
the Scopsi hold their services, but they are necessarily a 
secret denomination, who regard themselves as the espe- 
cially anointed children of God ; they have priests who 
travel about the country, providing their own sustenance 
and holding services only among such persons as they 
first obtain a satisfactory opinion from. These priests 
profess great familiarity with the Bible, and their argu- 
ments are addressed entirely to the emotional senses, and 
so effectively that a majority of those who attend are 
moved by such excitement that they gladly accept 
mutilation of themselves. They believe that mankind 
were conceived in sin, to purge which they must be born 
again into a state of purity ; that the millennium cannot 
appear until the world is regenerated through purification, 
and that none can be pure in heart until the carnal im- 
purities are removed ; hence the Scopsi baptize into 


what they call the new life of purity by castration. Men 
and women who unite with this sect must alike submit to 
mutilation, the operation on the latter consisting of an 
extraction of the oviaries through an incision made in 
the side. This worse than heathenish ceremonial, how- 
ever, does not stop with a mutilation of those who will- 
ingly submit themselves ; but, influenced by the belief 
that parents must provide means of salvation for their 
children, the little ones of both sexes are forcibly put un- 
der the priestly scalpel. 

Practices which distinguish the Scopsi, revolting and 
foully unnatural as they are, have also obtained in other 
nations, and even to this day are not unusual in Turkey 
and Italy. It is a well known fact that the tenor singers 
in the Royal Italian Opera at Rome are castrates, made 
so by Government orders. In Turkey the custom is very 
common, parents frequently unsexing their own children 
to sell them afterward as servants in harems or places of 
monetary trust. In Russia it is also practiced upon chil- 
dren who are afterward raised with great care, for when 
grown they command large salaries in fiduciary posi- 
tions. It is said that, however great the temptation of- 
fered may be, a castrate will never betray a trust ; that 
in all history one was never known to steal, or absent 
himself from any duty. Male children who were sub- 
jected to this barbarous custom in earlier days were not 
mutilated by like means as now, but were much more in- 
famously treated ; all the privates were cut away, after 
which the child was buried to the waist in sand ; this was 
to stop hemorrhage and prevent the exudation of serous 
fluid. It is said that nearly two-thirds of those thus 
treated died. 

There is also a colony of political exiles in the Yak- 
outsk Government, located at a small town on the Lugi- 



na river, called Villiski. Its population is a fugative one, 
for the reason that those sent there are at most only sus- 
pects, many of whom are called to Russia on pardons, or 


1. Barracks. 2. & 3. Private Residence 4. General view of the Town. &. Interior of a Private 
House. 6. City Hail and Residence of the Magistrate. 7. Prison. 

sent to other districts ; so that one month the town may 


have a population of nearly two thousand, while the next 
month it may have less than five hundred. The climate 
at Villiski is dreadfully severe, even colder, some say, 
than at Yakoutsk, but fortunately the exiles there have 
little to do but fish in summer and keep themselves warm 
in winter. 


THE recent disastrous results attending the Jeannette, 
or DeLong, exploring expedition, which are now (as I 
write) being investigated before a commission at Wash- 
ington, has brought the Lena River into such prominence 
before Americans that a partial history of the stream and 
the country which it drains has been considered applica- 
ble in this connection. The wrecking of DeLong and his 
party at the Lena delta, the loss of Lieutenant Chipp and 
his men, the dreadful march of Ninderman, Melville and 
Danenhower, and lastly, how the returning search party 
under Lieut. Gilder found the bodies of eight of that 
unfortunate expedition frozen under Siberian snows near 
the upper Lena, have been too recently told and gener- 
ally read to need repetition here. 

While at Irkoutsk I was very near, perhaps within a 
dozen miles of, the chief source of the Lena, and though 
never along the stream, I saw enough of Siberia to ap- 
proximate an idea of the desolate country through which 
it passes. The history of this portion of Siberia, so far 
as records give us any data or description, starts with the 
conquests of the Buriats by Cossacks early in the 17th 
century. After 30 years of fierce warfare between these 
two races, the Cossacks made themselves masters of the 
district about Lake Baikal, and then pushed northward 


along the Lena River until, in 1632, they reached the 
principal town of the Yakutes, where they built a fort 
and founded the city of Yakoutsk. After this they crossed 
the Aldan Mountains and, seven years later, reached the 
Sea of Okhotsk. For two centuries this was the route 
followed by those who would cross Siberia from the Urals 
to the Pacific, or vice versa. In the present day there are 
two other roads. All must go by the route from 
Tomsk to Irkoutsk, but from thence the Pacific can 
be reached either by crossing .the Mongolian desert to 
Peking, or by traversing the Buriat steppe, and so de- 
scending the Amoor. The second of these routes is now 
the best, but not briefly to mention the old route would 
be to omit much interesting information concerning the 
Lena, with its native population and fossilized remains, 
as well as to miss the opportunity of hearing a little of 
some of the most daring and adventurous journeys of pre- 
vious travellers. 

I allude to the accounts of Strahlenberg, De Lesseps, 
Billings, Ledyard, Dobell, Gordon, Cochrane, Erman, 
Cotterill, and Hill. 

Strahlenberg was a Swedish officer, who, at the begin- 
ning of the 18th century, was banished for 13 years to 
Siberia. He collected a vast amount of information con- 
cerning the country generally, and compiled polyglot 
tables of aboriginal languages, and amongst them that of 
the Yakutes inhabiting the valley of the Lena, of whose 
Pagan condition he gives many illustrations. 

M. De Lesseps was French Consul and interpreter to 
Count de la Pe rouse, the well-known circumnavigator. 
De Lesseps entered the country at Kamchatka in 1788, 
and wrote an account of his travels across Siberia and 
Europe to Paris. 

Captain Billings was an Englishman, who, after sailing 



with the celebrated Captain Cook, was employed by the 
Empress Catharine II. to make discoveries on the north- 
east coast of Siberia, and among the islands in the East- 
ern Ocean stretching to the American coast. For this 


purpose he proceeded to north-east Siberia in 1785, sailed 
down the river Kolima, explored a portion of the country 
eastward, and then returned by way of Yakoutsk. 

Another of Captain Cook's officers, John Ledyard, had 


the most romantic enthusiasm for adventure, perhaps, of 
any man of his time. He conceived the project of trav- 
elling across Europe, Asia, and America as far as possible 
on foot, and to this end he set out from London with 
about 50 only in his pockets. He reached Yakoutsk, 
where he met with Captain Billings, and with him was 
hoping to proceed to America, when, by order of the 
Russian Court, Ledyard was arrested on suspicion of be- 
ing a French spy, and was taken off to Moscow. 

Another journey across Northern Asia was made after 
the time of Billings by Peter Dobell, a counsellor of the 


Court of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia. 
Dobell landed in Kamchatka in 1812, and from thence 
proceeded overland to Europe. 

The most remarkable of these adventurers was an Eng- 
lishman named John Dundas Cochrane, a captain in the 
Royal Navy, who, in 1820, proposed to the Lords Commis- 
sioners of the Admiralty that they should give their sanc- 
tion and countenance to his undertaking alone a journey 
into the interior of Africa, with a view to ascertaining the 
course and determination of the river Niger. This they 
declined, whereupon he procured two years' leave of ab- 
sence, and resolved to attempt " a walking tour " round 
the globe, as nearly as could be done by land, crossing 
from Northern Asia to America at Behring's Straits, his 
leading object being to trace the shores of the Polar Sea 
along America by land, as Captain Parry was at the time 
attempting it by sea. Accordingly he left London with 
his knapsack, crossed the Channel to Dieppe, and then 
set out. This gentleman was endowed with an unbounded 
reliance upon his own individual exertions, and his knowl- 
edge of man when unfettered by the frailties and mis- 
conduct of others. One man, he said, might go any- 
where he chose, fearlessly and alone, and as safely trust 
himself in the hands of savages as among his own 

D O 

friends. His favorite dictum was that an individual 
might travel throughout the Russian empire, except in 
the civilized parts between the capitals, so long as his 
conduct was becoming, without necessaries failing him. 
He put his principle rather severely to the test, and it 
must be allowed that he did so with very general success, 
for he states that in travelling from Moscow to Irkoutsk 
(3,000 miles by his route) he spent less than a guinea. 
From Irkoutsk he descended the Lena to Yakoutsk, from 
whence, accompanied by a single Cossack, he penetrated 


in a north-easterly direction almost to the shores of the 
Ice Sea at Nijni Kolimsk, where, having altered his 
plans, he turned back by a most difficult route to Okh- 
otsk. From this place he sailed to Kamchatka, and mar- 
ried a native, whom he brought by sea back to Okhotsk, 
and then in winter crossed the Aldan mountains to Yak- 
outsk, whence the happy pair proceeded to Irkoutsk, and at 
length reached England. For enterprise and bravery 
this captain, I take it, easily bears off the palm from all 
Siberian travellers. 

The writer who has added most, perhaps, to our scien- 
tific knowledge of the valley of the Lena is M. Adolph 
Erman, who crossed Siberia in 1828, in conjunction, 
though not in company, with Professor Hansteen, the 
first professor at the Magnetic Observatory at Christi- 
ania, in Norway, and famous for his researches in terres- 
trial magnetism. They both travelled for the purpose of 
making magnetic and other observations ; but, on arriv- 
ing at Irkoutsk, Professor Hansteen returned to Europe, 
whilst Erman continued down the Lena to Yakoutsk, 
crossed to the Sea of Okhotsk, and so continued round 
the- world. 

Later on, one more Englishman has reached the Pacific 
by the way of the Lena, namely, Mr. S. S. Hill, who 
did soin 1848, and it is not unlikely that he may, for 
some time, be the last of the intrepid travellers who 
have accomplished this feat, since the Amooris now open 
to the Russians, and presents a far easier way of crossing 
the continent. 

To follow the older route, the first portion had to be 
traversed by post vehicles from Irkoutsk, a distance of 
160 miles in a north-easterly direction. The road 
crosses the water-parting of the Lena basin at or near 
the station Khogotskaya, which is about 90 geographical 



miles from Irkoutsk. The traveller journeys through a 
hilly country, where there is abundant pasture, and 
where the land is to some extent cultivated, to the vil- 
lage of Kachugskoe, situated on the banks of the Lena. 

Here various sorts of merchandise are embarked in large 
flat-bottomed boats, which are floated down the river. 
These goods are exchanged with the natives for furs, the 
boats at the end of the journey being broken up in dis- 
tricts where timber is scare, and the furs brought back 


in smaller craft. It was in one of these flat-bottomed boats 
that Mr. Hill descended the stream, in company with a 
Russian merchant, accomplishing the journey to Ya- 
koutsk in twenty-one days, with no worse mishaps by 
water than occasionally being driven on sand or mud 
banks, or into a forest of trees,, all but submerged by the 
height of the spring floods. 

Captain Cochrane chose a more independent course. 
Being furnished with a Cossack, he drove from Irkoutsk 
to the Lena, and, having procured an open canoe and 
two men, paddled down the stream. Proceeding day 
and night, they usually made from 100 to 120 miles a 
day, finding hospitable villages at intervals of from fif- 
teen to eighteen miles, as far as Kirensk, and so arrived 
on the eighth day at Vitimsk. It was now late in the 
autumn, and the ice began to come down the river, which 
sometimes compelled the natives to strip, and, up to .their 
waists in water, to track the boat, and this with the ther- 
mometer below freezing-point. At length the captain, 
in consequence of the difficulties of boating, was requested 
at one of the villages to proceed on horseback, which he 
did, and, being unable at the next station to get either 
horses or boat, he had to shoulder his knapsack and 
walk ; and so, by means of walking, riding, and paddling, 
he reached Olekminsk. From thence to Yakoutsk is 
about 400 miles, which, excepting the two last stages, the 
captain completed in a canoe, arriving on the 6th of Octo- 
ber. The weather was cold, snow was falling, and on 
approaching Yakoutsk the canoe was caught in the ice, 
so that he was compelled to make the remainder of his 
journey on foot. 

The descent of the Upper Lena to Yakoutsk by water 
was undertaken by Mr. Hill in spring, and by Captain 


Cochrane in autumn, but Mr. Erman accomplished it on 
the ice in winter, by a twenty days' sledge journey of 
nearly 1,900 miles. As he passed along he observed, 
first in the village of Petrovsk, several of the women 
largely affected with goitre, and learned with surprise 
that this malady, which in Europe characterises the 
valleys of the Alps, is frequent on the Lena. As he pro- 
ceeded he found goitre in men also, and asking an exile 
at Turutsk, who appeared the only healthy person in the 
place, how he had protected himself from goitre, was 
told that adults arriving from Europe were never attacked 
by the disease, but that the goitre was born with children 
of the district, and grew up with them. Medical men in 
Switzerland say that goitre proceeds from deposits in 
chemical combination, washed down by mountain streams 
that supply the inhabitants of the neighborhood with 
drinking water, and that it attacks children on account 
of their mucous membranes being very tender and easily 
distended. Mr. Erman inquired carefully, as he went on, 
respecting the prevalency of goitre, and having made 
barometrical and other observations along the way, he 
came at length to the conclusion that the disease was 
traceable, in part, to the formation and altitude of vari- 
ous places along the valley of the river, where the air, 
being confined, is, in summer, heated to an extraordinary 
degree, and loaded with moisture. 

With regard to the stream of the Upper Lena, its head- 
waters have their sources spread out for 200 geographic 
cal miles along the counter slopes of the hills that form 
the western bank of Lake Baikal, and the main stream 
rises within seven miles of the lake. 

At Kachugskoe, about GO geographical miles from the 
Baikal, and not less than 75 geographical miles in a 


straight line from its source, the Lena measures about 
the width of East River, opposite New York. The 
water, deep and clear, has in spring a very rapid cur- 
rent, though Captain Cochrane speaks of the rate lower 
down, in autumn, as only 1J or 2 knots per hour. The 
next station after Kachugskoe . is Yercholensk, a town of 
1,000 inhabitants, the first of that size on the north-east 
of Irkoutsk, and is the chief town of the uyezd (district). 
After flowing 500 miles further through a hilly country, 
with high banks always on one and sometimes on both 
sides, on which are 35 post-stations and more villages, 
the river passes Kirensk, which again is the chief town 
of an uyezd, and has a population of 800. Here cul- 
tivation practically ceases, except for vegetables. At 
this point, too, the river receives on its right the Kirenga, 
which has run nearly as long a course as the Lena. The 
stream thus enlarged now flows on for 300 miles more to 
Yitimsk, where it is joined by its second great tributary, 
the Yitim, from the mountains east of Lake Baikal. An- 
other stretch of 460 miles, through a country still hilly, 
but with villages less frequent, brings the traveller to 
Olekminsk, the capital of another uyezd, a town of 500 
inhabitants ; there the Lena receives from the south the 
Olekma, which rises near the Amoor river. It then con- 
tinues for 400 miles through a sparsely-populated dis- 
trict, till it reaches Yakoutsk, where it is 4 miles wide 
in summer, and 2| in winter, the river being usually 
frozen about the 1st of October, and not free from ice 
till about May 25th. 

Hitherto the course of the river has been to the north- 
east, but at Yakoutsk the stream makes a bend and runs 
due north, receiving on its right, 100 miles below Yak- 
outsk, one of its largest tributaries, the Aldan, which 
rises in the Stanovoi range bordering on the Sea of Okh- 


otsk. Yakoutsk is only 270 feet above the sea, and the 
current of the river henceforth is sluggish. About 50 
miles further the Lena receives its largest tributary from 
the left, the Vilui, and then proceeds majestically through 
a flat country with an enormous body of water to the 
Arctic Ocean, into which it enters among a delta of 
islands formed of the debris brought down by the river. 

In the region of the Lower Lena, and to the west- 
ward, have been found the remains of a huge rhinoce- 
ros, and an elephant larger than any now existing the 
elephas primigenius, popularly called the mammoth. It 
is so named from the Russian mamont, or Tartar mamma 
(the earth), because the Yakutes believed that this ani- 
imal worked its way in the earth like a mole ; and a 
Chinese story represents the mamentova as a rat of the 
size of an elephant which always burrowed underground, 
and died on coming in contact with the outer air. The 
tusks of the mammoth are remarkable for exhibiting a 
double curve, first inwards, then outwards, and then in- 
wards again ; several able naturalists are of the opinion 
that the so-called mammoth is of the same species as the 
Indian elephant, only much altered by the change of cli- 
matic conditions. The Samoyeds say that the mam- 
moth still exists wandering upon the shores of the 
Frozen Ocean, and subsisting on dead bodies thrown up 
by the surf. As for the rhinoceros, they say it was a 
gigantic bird, and the horns which the ivory-merchants 
purchase were its talons. Their legends tell of fearful 
combats between their ancestors and this enormous 
winged animal. 

A trade in mammoth ivory has been carried on for 
hundreds of years between the tribes of Northern Asia 
and the Chinese ; but it was a long time before European 
naturalists took a marked interest in the evidence of an 


extinct order of animals which these remains undeniably 
recorded. The Siberian mammoth agrees exactly with 
the specimens unearthed in various parts of England, es- 
pecially at Ilford in the valley of the Thames, near Lon- 
don, on the coast of Norfolk ; but whereas on European 
soil there remain but fragments of the skeleton, there 
have been found in Siberia bones of the rhinoceros and 
mammoth covered with pieces of flesh and skin. These 
discoveries date back more than a century. 

In December, 1771, a party of Yakutes hunting on the 
Vilui, near its junction with the Lower Lena, discovered 
an unknown animal half-buried in the sand, but still re- 
taining its flesh, covered with a thick skin. The carcass 
was too much decomposed to allow of more than the 
head and two feet being forwarded to Irkoutsk ; but they 
were seen by the great traveller and naturalist, Peter 
Simon Pallas, who pronounced the animal a rhinoceros, 
not particularly large of its kind, which might perchance 
have been born in Central Asia. 

In the year 1799 a bank of frozen earth near the mouth 
of the Lena broke away, and revealed to a Tunguse, 
named Schumachoff, the body of a mammoth. Hair, 
skin, flesh and all had been preserved by the frost ; and 
seven years later Mr. Adams, of the Petersburg Academy , 
hearing of the discovery at Yakoutsk, visited the spot. 
He found, however, that the greater part of the flesh had 
been eaten by wild animals and the dogs of the natives, 
though the eyes and brains remained. The entire car- 
cass measured 9 feet 4 inches high, and 16 feet 4 inches 
from the point of the nose to the end of the tail, without 
including the tusks, which were 9 feet 6 inches in length 
if measured along the curves. The two tusks weighed 
360 Ibs., and the head and tusks together 414 Ibs. The 
skin was of such extraordinary weight that ten persons 


found great difficulty in carrying it. About 40 Ibs. of 
hair, too, were collected, though much more of this was 
trodden into the sand by the feet of bears which had 
eaten the flesh. This skeleton is now in the Museum of 
the Academy at Petersburg, where I examined it during 
my visit to the city in October, 1882. 

Again, in 1843, M. Middendorf found a mammoth on 
the Taz, between the Obi and the Yenesei, with some of 
the flesh in so perfect a condition that it was found possi- 
ble to remove the ball of the eye, which is preserved in 
the Museum at Moscow. 

In 1865 the captain of a Yenesei steamer by chance 
learned that some natives had discovered the preserved 
remains of a mammoth in latitude 67, about 100 versts 
west of the river. Intelligence was sent to Petersburg, 
and Dr. Schmidt was commissioned to go and examine 
into the matter. Accordingly he proceeded down the 
Yenesei to Turukhansk, and thence to the landing-place 
nearest the mammoth deposit, hoping to obtain the ani- 
mal's stomach, and, from the character of the leaves 
within, infer the creature's habitat, since it is known that 
the beast lived upon vegetable food, but of what exact 
character no one has yet determined. Unfortunately the 
stomach was wanting. 

In examining, under the microscope, fragments of vege- 
table food picked out of the grooves of the molar teeth 
of the Siberian rhinoceros at Irkoutsk, naturalists have 
recognized fibres of the pitch-pine, larch, birch, and wil- 
low, resembling those of trees of the same kind which 
still grow in Southern Siberia. This seems to confirm 
the opinion, expressed long ago, that the rhinoceros and 
other large pachyderms found in the alluvial soil of the 
north used to inhabit Middle Siberia, south of the ex- 
treme northern regions where their skeletons are now 


found ; but Mr. Knox, who travelled for some distance 
with Schmidt on his return journey, says that the doctor 
estimated that the animal had been frozen many thou- 
sands of years, and that his natural dwelling-place- was in 
the north, at a period when perhaps the Arctic regions 
were warmer than they now are. Covered with long 
hair, it could certainly resist an Arctic climate ; but how 
on the tundras of the north could the animal have found 
the foliage of tress necessary for its subsistence? Must 
we conclude that formerly the country was wooded, or 
that the mammoth did not live where its skeletons are 
now found, but further south, whence its carcase has 
been carried northward by rivers, and frozen into the 
soil? These are questions debated among geologists, 
and still awaiting solution. 

The fact, however, remains, that mammoth ivory is 
still an important branch of native commerce, and all 
travellers bear witness to the quantities of fossil bones 
found throughout the frozen regions of Siberia. It has 
been suggested that the abundant supplies of ivory which 
were at the command of the ancient Greek sculptors came 
by way of the Black Sea from the Siberian deposits. So 
far back as the time of Captain Billings, Martin Sauer, 
his secretary, tells us of one of the Arctic islands near 
the Siberian mainland, that " it is a mixture of sand and 
ice, so that when the thaw sets in and its banks begin to 
fall, many mammoth bones are found, and that all the 
isle is formed of the bones of this extraordinary animal." 
This account is to some extent corroborated by Figuier, 
who tells us that New Siberia and the Isle Liakov are for 
the most part only an agglomeration of sand, ice, and 
elephants' teeth ; and at every tempest the sea casts ashore 
new quantities of mammoths' tusks. Eechts speaks of 
an annual find of fifteen tons of mammoth ivory, repre- 


senting about 200 mammoths ; and, about 1840, Midden- 
dorf estimated the number of mammoths discovered up 
to that time at 20,000. 

Each year, in early summer, fishermen's barques direct 
their course to the New Siberian group, to the "isles of 
bones-" and, during winter, caravans drawn by dogs 
take the same route, and return charged with tusks of 
the mammoth, each weighing from 150 pounds to 200 
pounds. The fossil ivory thus obtained is imported into 
China and Europe, and is used for the same purposes as 
the ordinary ivory of the elephant and hippopotamus. 

We cannot leave the Lower Lena and the neighboring 
shores of the Arctic Ocean without alluding to the won- 
derful sight those shores witnessed in 1878, for the first 
time in the history of the world. It was no less a sight 
than that of two steam vessels that had ploughed their 
way from Europe round Cape Cheliuskin. One of them 
was the Vega, in which was Professor Nordenskjold, 
whose intention had been to anchor off the mouth of the 
Lena, but a favorable wind and an open sea offered so 
splendid an opportunity of continuing his voyage that he 
did not neglect it. He sailed away, therefore, on the 
28th of August, direct for Fadievskoi, one of the New 
Siberian islands, where he intended to remain some days, 
and to examine scientifically the remains of mammoths, 
rhinoceri, horses, aurochs, bisons, sheep, etc., with 
which these islands are said to be covered. The Vega 
made excellent progress, but though on the 30th, Liakov 
Island was reached, the professor was unable to land, 
owing to the rotten ice which surrounded it, and the dan- 
ger to which the vessel would have been exposed in case 
of a storm in such shallow water. 

After the Vega with Nordenskjold on board, had left 
its sister ship the Lena, the latter vessel, under the com- 


mand of Captain Johannesen, started to ascend the river 
of its own name. A pilot had been engaged to descend 
the river and await the arrival of the Lena, but as 
neither he nor his signals were visible, the captain, after 
considerable difficulty, from the shallowncss of the 
water, made his way through the delta, and on the 7th of 
September reached the main stream, where the naviga- 
tion was less difficult. Yakoutsk was reached on the 
21st of September, dispatches were sent on to Irkoutsk, 
and from thence it was telegraphed to Europe that the 
rounding of Cape Cheliuskin and the navigation of the 
Lena by a steamer from the Atlantic had been accom- 

Since this ascent of the Lena, no other vessel has 
attempted to follow by way of the Arctic mouth, but 
there are now several steam crafts navigating the stream 
between Yakoutsk and towns located further south on the 
river. About the delta, where the Jeiinnctte survivors 
landed, there is still comparatively little known, though 
two native tribes, the Samoveds and Ostjaks, hunt every 
year all along the coast and sledge their game on the 
frozen Lena from near its mouth to Yakoutsk. * 


THERE are a number of mines worked by convict labor 
which I have not yet mentioned, among the more import- 
ant being those at Kadaya, Malopatomski, Klitchku, 
Algatche, Akatuya, Vidinsky, Nertchinsky Zavod, 
Chita, Nertchinsk, and Petrovsky Zavod. Of these the 

* For much of the information here given concerning the Lena, I am in- 
debted to Mr. Lansdell's "Through Siberia." 




Nertchinsk mines deserve special mention, because of 
their magnitude and the reputation which they bear. Of 
this place of labor and torment the author of " The Rus- 
sians of To-day" writes (p. 216): "The miners are 
supposed to be the worst offenders, and their punishment 
is tantamount to death by slow tortune ; for it is certain 
to kill them in ten years, and ruins their health long be- 
fore that time. If the convict have money or influential 
friends, he had better use the time between his sentence 
and transportation in buying a warrant which consigns 
him to the lighter kinds of labor above ground, otherwise 
he will inevitably be sent under earth, and never again 
see the sky until be is hauled up to die in an infirmary." 
Again, a distinguished German writer, Robert Lemke, 
visited several mines in Siberia with an official legitima- 
tion from the Russian Government, among the mines so 
visited beinj? those at Nertchinsk. Of the treatment ac- 


corded to convicts, in an article contributed to the Con- 
temporary Review, September, 1879, Mr. Lcmke says : 
"Entering a room (in the mine) of considerable extent, but 
which was scarcely a man's height, and which was dimly 
lit by an oil lamp, I asked, 'where are we?' 'In the 
sleeping room of the condemned ! Formerly it was a gal- 
lery of the mine, now it serves as a shelter !' I shud- 
dered. This subterranean sepulchre, lit by neither sun 
nor moon, was called a sleeping room. Alcove-like cells 
were hewn in the rock ; here, on a couch of damp, half- 
rotten straw, covered with a sack-cloth, the unfortunate 
sufferers were to repose from the day's hard work. Over 
each cell a cramp iron was fixed, wherewith to lock up 
the prisoners like ferocious dogs. No door, no window 

" Conducted through another passage, where a few 
lamps were placed, and whose end was also barred by an 


iron gate, I came to a large vault, partly lit. This was 
the mine. A deafening noise of pickaxes and hammers 
grated on my ears. Here I saw hundreds of wretched 
figures, with shaggy beards, sickly faces, reddened eyes, 
clad in tatters some of them barefoot, others in sandals, 
and all fettered with heavy foot chains. No songs, no 
whistling ; now and then they shyly glanced at me and 
my guide." 

Mr. Lemke also writes that in response to an inquiry 
which he made about the time allowed convicts to rest, 
the officer excitedly said : " Rest ! Convicts must always 
labor. There is no rest for them ; they are condemned to 
perpetual forced labor, and he who once enters the mine 
rarely leaves it." 

I had read these statements before leaving America, and 
now, while in a position to test their accuracy, I deter- 
mined to profit by the advantage. Mr. Gunsollis was 
still with me, and upon communicating my desire to him, 
he at once set about to assist me in finding some one who 
was familiar with the treatment of convicts at Nertchinsk. 
We had not long to search, for in a short time my friend 
was directed to a merchant whose dvornik house por- 
ter had been an exile at the noted mines for several 
years. This fellow, however, appeared very stupid, so 
that I did not like to trust his statement, from which 
dilemma I was fortunately relieved by his referring me to 
at least seven others in the city who had served terms of 
hard labor at Nertchinsk. By his directions I found six 
of these, three of whom were intelligent enough to com- 
prehend my motives, while the other three were so suspi- 
cious of me that they could not be induced to talk, 

From the three with whom I conversed freely much 
valuable information was obtained, which so thoroughly 
accords with all other descriptions of the place that I 


present it here, fully assured that it contains no misrep- 
resentations. Of the three, one had served eight years 
at Nertchinsk for participation in the Polish riots of 1863 ; 
another had spent ten years at hard labor for an alleged 
connection with Nihilist rioters at Karkoff, which, how- 
ever, he denied, and the other had served twelve years for 
burning Government property at YVirasloff. Each, of 
course, had a long story of justification, but as this 
might be expected from every convict, I did not rely on 
their defensive statements, lest they should be colored by 
excuses whicn had no existence in fact. But as to the 
treatment of themselves, and others under their obser- 
vation at Nertchinsk, they were qualified to speak truth- 

The mines at Nertchinsk are entered through an exca- 
vation made near the base of a mountain ; they are nearly 
three hundred feet in depth, and, owing to the sup- 
posed existence of volcanic fires near the tunnels, 
are very warm. Into these tunnels, which ramify 
a large district, generally five hundred convicts are 
engaged mining silver ; about one-fourth of this num- 
ber are never permitted to appear above ground ; that 
is, while all are doomed to hard labor, the portion 
referred to, having incurred the prejudice of those hav- 
ing them in charge, are subjected to a treatment not con- 
templated in their sentences. These unfortunates are 
not only weighted with heavy manacles, their arms, necks 
and ankles mutilated by the galling, rasping irons that 
are never removed, but their tasks are allotted greatly 
out of proportion to their ability, and yet they must per- 
form them or be placed under such severe discipline as 
few can long endure. 

It is no excuse if these men become ill or exhausted, 
they work nevertheless, and that too, with the same en- 


ergy as though they were well and able-bodied. Those 
who trundle wheel-barrows are chained to their imple- 
ment ; those who wield the pick are generally chained to 
a rock beside their work, and so no one can leave for 
an instant the place where he is set to labor. In this 
mine there is a gallery which is used only for punish- 
ment ; it is provided with rings made fast in the rock, 
and also with a large beam set at an angle of thirty-five 
or forty degrees, similar to that used in some of our pen- 
itentiaries, on which to punish convicts, and called the 
"Widow." When an offender becomes a subject for 
punishment he is taken into this gallery and either tied 
up by his wrists to the rings, or made to lie face down- 
ward on the beam, to which he is made fast by binding 
his wrists and ankles underneath. The scorpion is very 
frequently used upon those who are bound to the beam ; 
from twenty-five to fifty lashes are given with this dread- 
ful instrument, which latter number will, nine times out 
of ten, make a raving maniac of the victim. Those tied 
to the rings receive from one hundred to two hundred 
strokes of the knout, which lacerate the back in a manner 
no one can possibly describe ; the use of both these in- 
struments of punishment is very of ten attended with fatal 

The shocking brutality of those who apply such, os- 
tensibly, corrective means is further illustrated by their 
refusal to care for their victims after the unmerciful pun- 
ishment is awarded. There is no compassionate treat- 
ment given the victims ; taken from the gallery, with 
gashed and bleeding backs, their bodies quivering with 
agony, and legs so enfeebled that they frequently refuse 
support, the poor wretches are driven, or dragged, back to 
resume their tasks. Many of these sufferers return with 
disordered minds, crazed from pain, yet their idiotic ut- 


terances often cause them to be led again to the gallery 
for a double portion of punishment, or to be struck dead 
by the ferocious guard. For beds on which to lay their 
wounded bodies these poor convicts have only the ragged 
surface of the mine in which they work ; nothing but rocks 
for couch, pillow or coverlet; nothing with which to bind 
their sores or alleviate their pains ; enforced neglect causes 
a suppuration of the wounds, which, aggravated and poi- 
soned by perspiration, grow more severe until fever suc- 
ceeds, delirium is induced, and they fall victims indeed, 
but to secure at last relief and rest. 

Constant labor in the mines, without for one moment 
being permitted to see the blessed light of day, shut 
down in the damp cavern to breathe heated metalic fumes, 
produces an effect upon the convict which must be seen to 
be understood. The first changes noticeable, strange 
enough, are found in the hair, which becomes coarse, 
harsh and straggling ; next the features assume a pale cast, 
which afterwards change to a dull, ashen color ; the 
eyes then lose all lustre, and begin to sink ; the skin 
shrinks on the cheeks, and the flesh dries up until, 
after some years of labor, the whole frame seems to 
grow rickety, the muscles become atrophied and the voice 
is like a wheezy whisper ; the lips are thin as paper, and 
the fingers are grown to double length by reason of the 
flesh drying up between them. Such specter-like figures 
seen through the flickering light of smoking torches, 
which throw dancing shadows on the trickling tunnels' 
sides, are wierdly grotesque, arousing in the observer a 
conception of those nether regions peopled by tormented 
souls and imps of iniquity ; it is indeed a place of tor- 
ment, established and maintained in that spirit which gave 
expression to the poetic, though none the less existent 
fact : ' ' Ma 1 1 ' s i nhum a n ity t o in a n , m ak e s c < > u n t 1 e ss t h o u- 
sands mourn/' 


Were made about Salem, Massachusetts, in the last century, 
and conviction almost invariably resulted. The punish- 
ment provided for such cases consisted in branding, with 
a red hot iron, upon the forehead and abdomen, a figure 
of the cross. This was supposed to spiritualize the vic- 
tim, and also to have a holy influence upon any offspring 
which she might thereafter bear. The application of the 
brand was accompanied with the most excruciating suffer- 
ing, it being deemed essential to the potency of the coun- 
ter-charm, to burn deeply into the flesh that the cross 
might ever appear most conspicuous. 

But this barbaric custom is no longer practiced in any 
part of Siberia, while the treatment of female convicts 
generally is now fairly considerate, though not entirely 
humane. So do we have to record the fact, already men- 
tioned, that a reward is no longer placed upon the heads 
of escaping convicts, though there is no penalty provided 
for the wilful murder of exiles, either in or out of prison. 
The spirit of the ago is very slowly, but none the less 
certainly, extending towards Siberia, and let us hope it 
may completely possess thai: eountiy ere long. 


HAVING pretty fully informed myself on the several sub- 
jects appertaining to Siberian life, on the 20th of Septem- 
ber I took leave (if my now acquaintances at Irkoutsk and 
prepared for the return jouniey, with Schlueter still acting 
as my guide. There was considerable snow falling and 
already on the ground, so adopting the most expeditious 
mode of travelling we engaged a poxt-troika and yem- 
stuhik, \vitli which vyestarted PprKrasuoiarsk. Up to this. 



time I had carefully preserved the skin of the bear I 
killed while en-route for Yeniseisk, but it became so trou- 

blesome that, after many wavering resolutions, I finally 
gave it to a mujik at whose house we stopped to purchase 


milk. My tribulations over that skin were manifold. 
When I first perceived the bear it appeared to me of the 
most stupendous size and ferocity; when fortune favored 
me by directing the ball I fired to a fatal spot andthe ani- 
mal rolled over dead, it must be admitted that I entertained 
an opinion of myself which is simply and utterly beyond 
description ; for several minutes I felt great anxiety to 
get back to America for the sole purpose of having my biog- 
raphy published. But when I began to skin the animal and 
thoroughly familiarize myself with its size and weapons for 
.defence, somehow it commenced to dwindle like a candle 
lighted at both ends, or more properly like an object 
looked at through the large end of a spy-glass. Actually, 
that bear got so small before we finished the skinning 
that I felt sorry rny rashness had destroyed an animal 
which I might as well have caught and made a pet of. 
But besides being very small, the skin refused to dry, 
while at every exposure it would freeze in the most un- 
comfortable shapes, and take up more room than all our 
other luggage. These several reasons I considered, at 
length, quite sufficient to make me part with the skin, 
but I was very sorry to see the mujik throw it aside with 
a look which plainly said: "Well, perhaps it will do 
for the cats to gnaw." 

Upon reaching Nijni Udinsk we made a short stop and 
went out to the mines, which are nearly one mile from 
the town proper. But my visit was without results, as 
the chief officer was absent and none of his underlings 
would permit me to descend into the mines. 

Starting again on the following day, we proceeded with- 
out interruption to Krasnoyarsk, and thence on to Tomsk 
without do 1 . ay anywhere on the route. Everywhere 
tlnTo seemed to bo plenty of snow except at Tomsk, 
where we found the ground so bare that I had to discard 


the troika for a tumbril. I here decided to change my 
route and instead of returning to Russia by the same way 

I had come, to cut straight across to Omsk and take the 
\ower route which crosses the Urals at Orenburg. This, 


road I found, though not nearly so generally travelled as 
that by the way of Perm and Tobolsk, was through a 
more fertile country, and the roads were far better. 

Omsk is a town of 3, 000 people, with nothing to com- 
mend it above the smallest way-station, unless it be in 
the matter of churches, which are somewhat finer than 
those in Tieumen. I did not stop more than two hours 
in Omsk, being now anxious to conclude my investiga- 
tions in Russia and reach home before winter should be- 
gin. As there were no post-stations upon which I could 
rely for conveyance between Omsk and Orenburg, I was 
reduced to the necessity of buying a tumbril and three 
horses, for which I paid something more than for those 
I purchased at Tomsk. It was also necessary for us to 
hiy in a goodly store of provisions, as the distance we had 
now to travel was about one thousand miles before reach- 
ing the boundary of Russian civilization. This portion 
of my trip through Siberia impressed me more, perhaps, 
than anything I saw or heard on the convict route, for so 
great was the exposure induced from inclement weather 
that the effects I still keenly feel, while I was reduced in 
weight nearly thirty pounds. 

Schleuter, besides being a good guide, was a splendid 
cook, and his services over the camp-fire had much to do 
in sustaining my, at times, flagging courage, for I can 
assure the reader that it is a rugged courage indeed that 
can resist the complaints of nature when incited by 
freezing cold, chilling rains, sickness, and the number- 
less annoyances which one might expect to meet on so 
long a journey, across a wilderness of unchangeable des- 
olation, seven thousand miles from home. 

At one point, nearPrisnovsk, we discovered a herd of 
animals quite unlike any of the brute creation I had ever 
before seen ; they were called Siberian Antelope and, as 


I was informed, are quite numerous in the western part 
of Siberia. As it was drawing toward evening, I ordered 
Schleuter to stop and assist me in trying to kill one of 
the animals, as we were in need of fresh meat and, besides, 
I wanted the adventure. According to my instructions, 
the horses were unharnessed, save their bridles, and 
Schleuter mounting one while 1 rode another, bareback, 
we set out to surround the antelopes, which were not 
nearly so wild as the large game on our western plains. 
I rode away to the north some distance, where there was 
a small ravine in which myself and horse could remain 
quite out of sight of the game, while Schleuter watched 
my movements and at the proper time made a wide circuit 
and came up leeward of the antelope which did not take 
fright until he had approached within a few rods of them. 
Fortunately, but as we both anticipated, they broke di- 
rectly for the ravine where I was stationed ; they came 
by me in a gallop, not more than twenty steps away, and 
with a shaking, buck-ague aim I fired, once, twice, three 
times, the last shot alone taking effect, breaking the hind- 
leg of a large buck. Though disabled, the animal did not 
surrender, but on three legs it went cutting through the 
tall grass, while I hastily mounted and, waving my hat 
for Schleuter to come on, started in hot pursuit. A Sibe- 
rian pony is great in endurance, though his speed is hardly 
above that of a mule's, but I was now thoroughly ex- 
cited, and with beating, kicking and otherwise urging my 
horse I got enough speed out of him to keep not far behind 
the wounded buck. Thus we raced for nearly five miles 
before I could approach near enough to make a finishing 
shot. When the antelope was finally killed, we were 
much puzzled how to get it to our tumbril, as its weight 
was not less than four hundred pounds, I should judge. 
But our difficulties were overcome by dressing the game 




and then equally, dividing it, which, by the way, was a 
job of infinite tediousness and hard labor, since we had 
nothing but pocket-knives to work with ; all our trouble 
was, however, wholly forgotten while feasting off the 
delicious steaks that night, such meat as I am sure can 
be found nowhere else in the world, unless Siberian 
Antelope are to be found in other countries. 

We had no other exciting adventure between Omsk 
and Orenburg, which latter place we reached in fifteen 
days after leaving the former. The Ural mountains at 
Orenburg Pass are not even so high as the range about 
Perm. So far as my observations extended I was sur- 
prised to find that Orenburg had not been selected for the 
railroad passage instead of Perm, since nature certainly 
favors the southern route. I found in Orenburg a sleepy 
old town of pronounced Caucasian characteristics. Its 
population embraces many Tartars and Circassians, but 
all are a lazy, happy-go-lucky, to-morrow or next day 
kind of people, whom it is far better to read about in 
history than to mess with at table in short, they stink. 

My stay in Orenburg was very short, only long enough 
to sell my team and take a bath. I proceeded on for 
Nijni Novgorod by the regular post-route, which leads 
through Samara, where the Volga is crossed. Samara is 
noted for having the longest railroad bridge in the world, 
a structure erected by the company that began the con- 
struction of the southern railroad from Moscow through 


Siberia, as already mentioned. 

From Samara I went on to Nijni, by steamer, and 
thence to Moscow, Schleuter still remaining with me, as 
I had need for an interpreter, having decided to spend 
two or more days in a serf village to acquaint myself 
with the customs peculiar to Russian peasantry. After 
stopping a few hours at Moscow I took the west-bound 




train, which runs across Russia 500 miles to Warsaw, for 
a large serf village located near the road, about forty 
miles from Moscow. I decided to visit this place be- 
cause an American .;-: '-inan from Philadelphia, whom 
I met at the Hotel Bilk T osco\v, had travelled through 
the village a few days bei. -\d assured me of its rep- 
resentative character. The .^n at which I stopped 
contained only one or two builu.r>gs, nd being unable to 
engage any kind of conveyance 8cia;euf.--jv and I walked 
out to the Serf village, which was a joi:,; two miles from 
the station. 

There is nothing to which I can compare a serf settle- 
ment so well as to the negro log cabins still found on our 
Southern plantations. The buildings are nearly all alike, 
small, one or two room log huts having roofs of thatch, 
and are built along* streets which seem to have been regu- 
larly laid out. There are generally two small, square 
windows in each house, and the floors are made of hewn 
pine logs, same as those used for the walls. Invariably, 
at a short distance from the village, is the nobleman's 
residence and a chapel for religious worship, not always 
near together, but never more than a half-mile apart. 
The nobleman's house always stands on an elevated posi- 
tion commanding a view of the village and estate. 
Things are very much changed since the serfs were eman- 
cipated, but there are yet visible traces of the relationship 
which once existed between the serfs and their master 
nobleman. The glory, pomp and wealth of the nobility 
have departed ; no longer are the serfs called to their daily 
labor by the sounding horn, nor do they pay homage to or 
work for lordly masters who spend their years in riotous 
living. The mansion still stands a mule reminder of 
slavery days, but its once proud owner is now draining 
the dregs of poverty and spending his influence in fo- 


meriting rebellion against the Government that by a man- 
date deprived him of both wealth and position. But 
there appears to be little independence or prosperity 
among the serfs whose liberty came to them in a manner 
which they have never been quite able to understand. 
The communal estates still remain as in earlier days, the 
villages are intact, and but for the loitering indiffer- 
ence of the people we could hardly realize the change. 
On Southern plantations the gregarious log cabins which 
once sheltered negro bondsmen are now empty and fallen 
into decay, but though the abolition of serfdom was ac- 
complished before the manumission of slaves in America, 
there is very little outwardly to show that the serf of 
former days is not still a serf. 

I went among the peasantry, who now hold the term 
"serf" in disdain, and was kindly treated by them. 
After once assuring themselves that the object of my 
visit was to learn something of their customs, they 
showed me every kindness and entertained me with a 
generous hospitality. 


SUPERSTITION is nowhere so absurdly general and gro- 
tesque as among the Russian peasantry ; but this is not 
surprising when we consider the fact that they receive no 
education whatever ; a school house to them is only as a 
dream ; they are nurtured in a church which recognizes 
modern day miracles, and are taught by priests who are 
the only monitors the poor classes know ; that God and 
his saints spend their whole time looking for a fitting oc- 
casion to do something that may be interpreted as a mir- 


acle. The cock that crows in the morning is reckoned 
us a mouth-piece of some old saint, and there are certain 
patriarchs in each village who take it upon themselves to 
render certain matutinal calls of the cock into decrees 
from heaven. Pigeons are looked upon as holy birds, 
for the lives of which the Russians are so regardful that 
a severe punishment is provided for any who would wan- 
tonly kill them ; in consequence of this the whole country 
is fairly filled with pigeons, until they are an abominable 
nuisance. Every peasant must have an " icon " and keep a 
candle constantly burning before it ; should the candle 
become exhausted in the night or be extinguished by ac- 
cident, the entire household is at once seized with alarm ; 
they immediately declare that a prowling spirit of dark- 
ness is in the house, to rid themselves of which they burn 
certain kinds of herbs and perform long series of strange 
ceremonials. The Russians do not, so far as I could 
learn, entertain any belief in faries or pixies, but they all 
have implicit confidence in good and evil spirits, which 
they believe are the angels of men and women who have 
died leaving something undone of such serious nature 
that they visit the earth to attend to the neglected matter. 
Before neither chapel nor holy image will a peasant pass 
without devoutly crossing himself. While in Moscow I 
saw an amusing illustration of this devotional characteris- 
tic : a priest came riding by in a carriage, carrying in his 
arms a picture of St. Nicholas (in his life he was called 
the iron-heeled despot, but after death his name was 
dianged to St. Nicholas) ; the street was filled with peo- 
ple, and as they saw the (un)holy image they all dropped 
upon their knees and bent their heads to the sidewalk ; as 
far as my eyes could follow the receding carriage I saw 
the people dropping down in long files like double col- 
umns of an army answering to a command. These people, 


poor, ignorant and superstitious, are hardly less serfs 
now than before, because of the slavery they are still 
under to the church. In Russia there are more priests 
than d:>'rs and per consequence more degradation than 
any oilier prevailing characteristic. The priests are 
divided into two classes, viz., the white and black clergy ; 
the former are privileged to do about as they please, but 
the latter, besides being prohibited from marrying, do 
not even receive the respectful regard of common people ; 
they are nearly all drunkards, and so notoriously corrupt 
that in their preaching they exhort the people to "Do as 
we advise you, but not as we do." These travesties on 
the gospel, nevertheless, succeed in filching from the 
peasantry the means they can illy afford to .spare. But 
under a suspicion that the highest reward hereafter 
attainable is given to those most liberal in their donations 
to the church, a belief which has been created by priestly 
mercenaries, the peasants divide their last copecks and 
go hungry that they may be called faithful. Churches, 
monasteries and chapels abound in rare profusion 
throughout Rus.sia ; nowhere in the world is there such a 
lavish display in ecclesiastical edifices and decorations ; 
altars of solid silver, candelabras of pure gold, steeples 
and domes glittering with precious metals ; priestly robes 
bedizened with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and in short 
the whole church government covered inside and outside 
with a paraphernalia of extravagant, inestimable wealth. 
Now, who pays for all this pomp and more than Roman 
splendor? Why, none hut the peasantry, those whose 
earnings are counted by copecks half-cents who go 
without schooling, without bread, without any comforts, 
and who bring up their children no better than them- 
selves ; these are they who contribute the means that 
make such a mockery of Godliness, justice, common- 


sense, possible. Beside the icon in every peasant's home 
is placed a small box into which something is dropped 
every day, if but a copeck, for the benefit of the clergy, 
and whenever a miracle is wrought in a peasant's family, 
which, in their estimation, is very often, this church allow- 
ance not infrequently extends to the last piece of coin 
the family possesses. 

In this barbaric superstition the Russian Church -is 
found the primary cause of Nihilism. The oppressive 
burdens complained of do not arise wholly from despotic 
rulership ; the Czar does not prevent the earth from bring- 
ing forth, nor does he withhold the hand of any husband- 
man from the plow ; but the church has set aside one hun- 
dred holidays annually, on which no man who is faithful 
must labor ; by this edict she destroys one-third the pro- 
ductiveness of the Empire and appropriates nearly all of 
the other two-thirds to herself, to keep up appearances. 
Poverty never considers the real cause that produces it, 
but angry at fate, she is controlled by prejudice against 
the more fortunate, and in these facts is patent reason 
why the political dissensions in Russia are so serious. The 
life of every nation is dependent upon the agricultural 
resources it yields, so that every nation must be poor 
whose pastoral people are poor ; it is better to stop the 
spinning wheel than to arrest the plow, and more wisely 
economical is it to burden the commerce of manufacture 
than to encourage any scheme that looks toward a tax 
upon the farmer. Russia has not yet learned this im- 
portant truth. 

Agriculture in all Russia is still conducted upon primitive 
principles ; I found that the peasants were indisposed to 
adopt any modern implement, but for what reason could 
not be explained. Their plows are not wholly unlike 
those used in China, consisting of a straight and narrow 




plow-share, without any mould-board, which runs into 
the earth not more than three inches and makes more of 
a treneh than furrow ; their plow horses work in shafts, 
and even here the douga is not discarded, but retained 
as a relic of ancient usage. I>ut in the harvest lield there 
is still less of modern farming seen, for the grain is cut 
with hand-sickles, behind which follow gleaners, as in the 
days of Ruth and Boaz. It is really a pretty sight to 
witness the harvest gathering; as the peasants live in 
communes, they work together upon a communistic prin- 
ciple ; when the wheat has ripened Russia raises com- 
paratively little else the village population, both men and 
women, turn out with sickles at their labor, which begins 
at break of day and continues until darkness. I have seen 
more than one hundred reapers strung out in a line gath- 
ering the grain of a single field, the men wearing trousers, 
of some coarse material, outside of which the shirt is 
worn ; but the women, if not more expensively dressed, an; 
certainly more gaudily decorated. They are very fond 
of bright colors, their hair being bound up with gay hand- 
kerchiefs, while their dresses are either of a bright red, 
blue or green ; viewed at a distance, against a back- 
ground of ripened grain and, as a whole, moving in ec- 
centric undulations, the sight is exceedingly pleasing. 
When the wheat is gathered and ready for threshing, it is 
taken into sheds, which can hardly be called barns, and 
there the grain is beaten out with flails, as in old en times- 
Notwithstanding the crude manner in which the peasantry 
of Russia till their lands, yet Russia is the only competi- 
tor America has in an ambition to feed the world. 
Fortunately for us, what progress has been made in Rus- 
sia has been in manufacture, to the almost utter neglect 
of agriculture, the result of which is the unwonted de- 
pression of all her energies, and the critical condition of 


her finances. This may he accounted for by a considera- 
tion of the following facts, which should have special 
interest for Americans, because a removal of the causes 
may seriously embarrass our prosperity : 

With immense tracts of sparsely populated but fertile 
lands, a great lack of native skilled labor, and undevel- 
oped mineral resources, Russia is necessarily an agricul- 
tural country, and must seek material progress in driving 
the plough, and not in forging the ploughshare. Every- 
thing, however, seems to militate against the success of ag- 
riculture. The land, which is in the hands of the peasants 
in the purely Russian provinces, is being rapidly exhausted 
under unskilful and improvident husbandry, and where, 
under proper management, the complaint would be that 
there were not hands sufficient to work the soil, the actual 
cry is, on the contrary, that there is not land enough to 
feed the inhabitants. To the foreigner who knows the 
vast extent of the Russian Empire and the comparative 
paucity of its inhabitants, the idea of an earth-hunger in 
the dominions of the Czar appears simply absurd. Never- 
theless the fact exists that the present deplorable condi- 
tion of the peasantry in many of the provinces is gravely 
attributed to the smallness of the shares of land which 
fall to the lot of the various village families. 

The subject has become so important to Russia that the 
Government has taken it into serious consideration, a 
commission being appointed to enquire into the question ; 
and steps having been taken to facilitate the removal of 
large numbers of the peasants from the central provinces 
to the vacant and fertile lands in the east of the Empire. 
It is part of the theory of the largest and most influ- 
ential class of Russian politicians that the welfare of the 
country depends upon the possession by each peasant of 
a plot of land sufficient under tillage to secure his main- 


tenance, and great alarm is therefore felt at what is 
considered the failure in this respect of the system intro- 
duced on the abolition of serfdom. It is perfectly clear 
that if, under the ukase of liberation, each peasant fam- 
ily received only sufficient land for its support, the small- 
est increase in the population must produce the greatest 
distress, unless the system of agriculture be so improved 
as to render the portions of land continually more pro- 
ductive. The Russian press, however, and the poli- 
ticians who have specially occupied themselves with the 
land question, have for the most part paid but little atten- 
tion to the consideration of the necessity for a general 
improvement in agriculture. Tables have been drawn up, 
and statistics have been prepared, proving beyond dispute 
that the portion of land possessed by each male peasant 
is smaller than was contemplated under the great Act of 
Emancipation, and that under present conditions the pro- 
duce of this portion is insufficient to satisfy the require- 
ments of its possessor. All this, however, seems to fail 
to suggest the desirability, and, indeed, necessity of 
seeking to increase the value of the produce of each acre 
of land. Great obstacles stand in the way of any rapid 
or serious improvement, but still much might be done. A 
first requirement is the introduction of capital for the im- 
provement of stock, for works of irrigation, for the pur- 
chase of machinery, and for providing the means for tid- 
ing over bad seasons ; but this urgently required capital 
is hard to get. One great obstacle in the unnatural di- 
version of capital to manufacturing industries, has been 
pointed out, but in addition to this, other circumstances 
combine to prevent those classes that would be most likely 
to come forward, from appearing as investors. The Jew 
capitalists who are to be found in every provincial town 
of the west, and many of whom as dealers in agricul- 


tural produce, have intimate relations with the needy land- 
owners and peasants, are prohibited by law from becom- 
ing owners, mortgagees, or managers of landed property, 
and this fact alone locks up from the land large sums 
which would otherwise almost certainly be employed in 
its development. After the Jews, the large landowners 
are the class from whom most might be expected. Their 
wealth and superior intelligence, if devoted to agriculture, 
would be almost invaluable ; but since the emancipation 
of the serfs few of them reside on their estates or take 
any great interest in them. A barrier has arisen between 
them and those who were formerly their slaves, and if 
the mujik thinks that he can in any way struggle on inde- 
pendently, even high wages will seldom tempt him to 
work for his former master. The proprietor finds life 
in the provinces exceedingly dull and monotonous ; his re- 
lations with the peasantry around him are generally 
strained, and the superior comfort of residence in one of 
the capitals or abroad is so great that he seldom resists 
the temptation to quit the provinces and hand over the 
management of his estates to an agent. If the agent 
were likely to be a man of intelligence and probity the 
damage would not be so great, but such men are hard to 
find, and as a rule under the administration of a deputy 
the property is neglected, and instead of an example of 
superior agriculture being given to the peasants, the in- 
dolence and too often the dishonesty of the agent lead to 
results on the estate of the large proprietors as bad as are 
produced on the village lands by the incapacity of the 
peasants. Thus do we observe the drawbacks to Russia's 
prosperity, and may feel assured that so long as they 
continue to exist the country will grow poorer until no 
one may foresee the end. I am frank to admit that the 
Russian Empire has infinitely more natural advantages 


than the United States ; she has the finest agricultural 
lands on earth, and more of it ; she has more mineral 
wealth than any other nation ; every climate maybe found 
in the Empire, and where is there a country that lias so 
many and such great rivers as Russia.? The soil in what 
is known as the "black earth district," south-east Russia, 
is positively so rich that it will produce nothing but 
potatoes, or such other vegetables as will only grow in 
manure, and this district contains millions of acres. 
Siberia itself has enough arable lands, that if properly 
cultivated might be made to produce sustenance for the 
whole world ; and yet, with all these advantages, Russia 
is behind every nation, and her population is only seven 
inhabitants per square mile. What a country for emi- 
grants, if the laws were liberal ! 


AFTER visiting nearly two days among the serfs, I dis- 
missed Schleuter, who returned home to Tobolsk, while 
I went directly to St. Petersburg, and there renewed my 
relations with Count Tolstoi through a second letter of 
cordial introduction and recommendation, from Minister 
Hunt, as already published. My desire now was to 
inform myself of the social and religious life of the 
aristocratic and middle classes, as found at the Russian 

Notwithstanding the fact that Moscow and St. Peters- 
burg are both Muscovite Capitals, abounding with all the 
paraphernalia of Imperialism, regarded socially they are 
as distinct as Paris and Constantinople, having no single 
characteristic in common save in the possible matter of 


church decoration. 'Moscow is a gem in the Asiatic sig- 
net still ; though in strongly pronounced antagonism to 
Budhism and the Moslem creed, she nevertheless clings to 
such observances as distinguish those faiths, and did the 
spires of her churches wear crescents instead of crosses 
we could readily believe that Moscow was the Mussul- 
man's holy city. But St. Petersburg has a highly pol- 
ished veneering of European civilization, whicji is con- 
spicuous everywhere outside her monasteries ; on the 
streets may be seen, though at infrequent intervals, 
monks with round, band-box looking headpieces, from 
which a piece of black muslin is suspended behind ; or, 
members of the white and black clergy dressed in black 
stoles, wearing hats tucked up at four quarters by 
strings, the former having short and the latter long, 
straggling hair ; but these are about all the ecclesiastical 
sights to be seen on the streets in St. Petersburg, and 
even they are not common. Sunday, too, is not a day 
wholly devoted to religious observances, for I saw 
large squads of men busy at work repairing streets, 
which must have been done by municipal order, and 
there is also more or less business done at the small 
shops on Sunday ; but in Moscow such sacrilegious 
employment would not be tolerated. 

I attended services one Sunday at St. Isaac's Cathe- 
dral, in company with my interpreter, Kuntze, and was 
entertained in a much more agreeable manner than I had 


anticipated. This famous cathedral, though hardly so 
fine as the Grand Votive church in Moscow, is a marvel 
of architectural beauty and magnificence ; its cupola is 
a mass of burnished gold, lifting up against the sky its 
wonderful hemisphere like a bright sun half set behind 
a mountain peak. It has four fronts, with the same 
number of main entrances, before each of which are 



eight granite pillars sixty feet in height and seven feet 
through. The interior, however, is much more impos- 
ing, being composed of many beautiful rooms supported 
by pillars of malachite ; the steps are made of porphyry ; 
the walls are of lapis lazuli, the floors are of variegated 
marble, the inner dome is of malachite, and the gorgeous 


interior is lighted by foliated windows of rare colors. 
A feature of the decorations inside is the prestol form- 
ing the shrine, which is made of malachite and was 
a present from Prince Demidoff ; the cost of this shrine 
was one million dollars, equal to the cost of the build- 
ing's foundation. 


One peculiarity of all Greek churches is the absence" 
of seats, and instrumental music ; every one, whether 
prince or peasant, must stand up during the entire service, 
which generally lasts two hours. As I walked into the 
church it was between two files of beggars who haunted 
the entrance, and with suppliant mien addressed a peti- 
tion to each person who passed them ; they also held a 
little board in their hands on which they allowed to 
remain the copecks that were given them, as an incentive 
to others to contribute. When I reached the interior 
I found the congregation disposed in various naves, and 
generally in squads, the principal portion of the audience, 
however, being in the center nave, before which was the 
chancel and .priest. My attention was attracted to bevies 
of suppliants whose devotions were being made beforeicons 
of Christ, Mary, Russian saints, and bi blical patriarchs ; 
each suppliant was provided with a pocket-full of can- 
dles, as every icon was surrounded with candelabras, some 
having more than fifty, which were supplied with new can- 
dles as soon as those burning were exhausted ; the use of 
candles is so great that there are in Russia hundreds of very 
large factories which produce nothing but these sacrificial 
candles, and it is a most remunerative industry. Devo- 
tions made to these icons consist in the suppliant first 
addressing a short prayer before the image, while in a 
standing position ; the suppliant then bows down and 
touches the floor three times with his forehead, still 
reciting prayers ; this worship is repeated many times, 
and when concluded another prayer is offered, after 
which the sign of the cross is made three times, when 
the suppliant passes on to the center nave and participates 
in the regular services, which are chiefly choral. I saw 
many old men and women undergoing the preliminary 
service in a way which excited my compassion ; in pros- 


trating themselves I could hear their stiffened joints, 
inflexible from age, crack with each motion, and J. could 
plainly see that the exertion consequent upon so repeat- 
edly rising and kneeling was of a most taxing, if not 
exhausting, nature. 

Russian choirs are famous the world over ; no other 
people have such musical throats, and when animated by 
the religious feeling which so thoroughly pervades them 
they produce a harmony which I can best describe bycal- 
ing it heavenly. I needed no interpreter to tell me of its 
beauty, or to inspire me with the soul-attuning melody 
which welled up until I became lost in its swells of rich 
grace-imparting, spiritualizing concord of delicious music. 
While entranced by this ecstacy of sweet sounds I was 
suddenly alarmed by a shriek which rose above the 
harmony, piercing and painful ; looking in the direction 
from whence the excitement proceeded, I caught sight of 
a woman who was being borne upon the shoulders of two 
men through the audience toward a large image of the 
crucified Christ ; instantly there occurred to me the idea 
of sacrificial rites, that this woman, screaming as if she 
were possessed of a thousand devils, was to do some 
propitiatory act for absolvment from a penalty which she 
conceived was about to be ad ministered ; these reflections 
were produced by the strange influences which surrounded 
me, but upon inquiry addressed to my guide for the 
cause, he informed me that the woman was a paralytic 
who, having received absolution, and the power of faith 
through a reception of the holy spirit, had begged to be 
carried to the feet of Christ, which, if she might touch, she 
expected to be cured of her affliction. I found that this 
was a very usual occurrence, there being few services 
hold in the Cathedral that some incurable among the 
audience did not seek to touch the sacred image, 


believing it would make them whole. I did not hear 
that any one had ever been thus miraculously cured, but 
then there is no limit to faith, and I did not expect to find 
reason prevailing to any extent among a people so 
exclusively religious as these. 

I attended one other sacred service in St. Peters- 
burg, which was even more interesting than that at St. 
Isaacs Cathedral, and which, I may add, impressed 
me more seriously. It was a te deum sung at the St. 
Alexander Nevskoi Monastery by fourteen monks and 
twelve neophytes. This ecclesiastical institution is 
renowned throughout the Empire, being to Russia what 
Westminster Abbey is to England. Under its marble 
floors repose hundreds of the most famous characters in 
Russian history, whose deeds are briefly recorded on the 
tablature above them. In a large yard about the Mon- 
astery lie buried many people once rich enough to pur- 
chase a resting place in the sacred enclosure, for it is a fact 
that none can find burial here except upon the payment 
of a certain sum, which generally amounts to $25,000 ; 
this is considered small enough price for a bed in so holy 
a place, which many think is but a step removed from 

Some years ago there was a Lady Superior in charge 
of the Monastery who was also financial agent of the 
institution ; she was a woman of extraordinary force of 
character and so popular among the aristocracy that she 
secured from time to time most princely bequests from 
rich people of the Empire ; she was on very intimate 
terms with the royal family, particulary with the Em- 
press of Alexander II., and possessed the confidence of 
everybody. Her charities became the wonder of all, for 
she built almost a score of institutions for the benefit of 
the poor, and established hospitals in many parts of 


Russia. It is estimated that in her ambition to amelio- 
rate the condition of the Russian poor she spent not less 
than $20,000,000. After a time it was hinted that all 
this wealth had not been derived from the sources she 
represented, but that she had appropriated the church 
revenues. An investigation followed, which was 
prompted by priests jealous of their own personal inter- 
ests, which established the facts as charged. She was 
then placed on trial for sacrilege, in misappropriating 
church funds, and after one of the most exciting legal 
contests that ever took place in St. Petersburg, her 
guilt was established. The trial was attended not only 
by scores of the most famous people of the Empire, but 
also by the Emperor and Empress. It was clearly 
proved that, though the Lady Superior had used funds 
of which she was the trust agent, yet every dollar of it 
had been charitably employed ; that even her own wants 
and needs were neglected to the end that she might use 
every copeck available for the betterment of those need- 
ing aid. Her sentence was confinement in prison for 
twenty years, but instead of this harsh judgment affix- 
ing any stigma to her name, hundreds of aristocratic 
women begged that they might be permitted to share 
her imprisonment. When assigned to a cell in the Bol- 
shaya Sadovaya prison she found it a solid bower of 
perfume-laden flowers ; she was daily visited by mem- 
bers of the Imperial family, and every possible attention 
was paid her by people of the highest rank. After two 
years of imprisonment, which was one continual ovation, 
Alexander II. gave her a pardon, and within two months 
after her liberation she was reinstated in the position of 
Lady Superior in the Monastery, where she is still serv- 
ing, with enlarged jurisdiction, and honored as no other 
woman was ever honored in Russia. 


I entered the monastery with my guide, who eon- 
ducted me through long corridors, which seemed to be 
endless, past dark chambers which looked like charnel 
pits, and at times along narrow passages, until nearly 
a half-mile had been traversed, when we emerged into the 
main chapel. The te deum service begins at four o'clock 
p. M., and continues uninterruptedly for two hours; it 
was quarter past four when we arrived and the choir was 
already chanting their musical invocations ; the first 
rich notes that fell upon my ear charmed every sense 
and thrilled me with melodious rapture. I walked for- 
ward in the great hall, which was deserted save by three 
women who were praying at the base of a gray pillar, 
until near the chancel, upon a raised dais on which stood 
the monks and neophytes, their backs toward the hall 
and with faces turned upon a large painting of Christ. 
There was about the whole scene something to inspire 
the soul ; some overshadowing but impersonal presence ; 
a strangeness that suggested infinity and spirituality ; 
the shaking of hands and declaration of familiarity 
between the living and dead. The monks were habited 
in long, black surplices ; on their heads they wore the 
black caps indicative of self-denial and retirement from 
the world , and their hair hung far down the back in con- 
sonance with the idea of a neglected body, but care for 
the soul. 

I have heard with delight the famous professional 
singers of both continents, and measured their harmony 
by the fullest sense of the ear, but to none of them, 
Lind, Patti, Mlsson, could I compare the harvest of 
symphony as produced by the monks ; indeed, one is as 
an elevation of man's feelings from the sordid cares of 
life to the bountiful love of domestic happiness and con- 
tentment ; while the other is like lifting one from out a 


life of disappointments for a transplanting into felicitous 
fields of paradise, where the very essence of existence 
is musical. I never before conceived the limits of 
vocal culture, I did not appreciate the mesmerism of a 
human voice, nor understand the magic of a song. 
There I stood, before that wonderful choir, so em- 
balmed with melody, and intensified by a rapture so won- 
derful that I felt as one who might ascend upon wings 
of love to the portals of Hesperides and there bathe in 
a flood of joy which blessed souls find on the beautiful 
shores. I am not unconscious of the suspicion which 
many readers are liable to attach to so florid a descrip- 
tion ; who may, indeed, pronounce it sophomoric exag- 
geration, but my excuse for using such adjective expres- 
sions is the genuine, soul-entranced feeling I had while 
listening to the Monk choir, and which I have only 
indifferently described. I might resc under the imputa- 
tion of supersensitiveness were it not for the fact that 
all who hear this famous choir are impressed with feel- 
ings identical with my own. Princely offers have been 
made the choir for their choral services in public, but 
these have all been refused with the pious remark, " We 
sing only for God and the dead." Some years ago a 
great tenor of the chofr was ordered by Alexander II. to 
sing on a public occasion at the Royal Italian Opera in 
St. Petersburg. His appearance created such an intense 
excitement that the Emperor was glad to have him 
return to the monastery ; so great was the rush of peo- 
ple to hear the tenor that many persons were trampled, 
while those who gained admission to the theatre mani- 
fested such delirious joy that they would hardly permit 
him to leave the stage ; in addition to this rather annoy- 
ing adulation, the church violently protested against his 
public appearance, pronouncing it a sacrilegious sacrifice, 


and hurled dreadful anathemas at the Emperor for his 
order. This was the first and last time that any mem- 
ber of the Monastery choir has sung outside the chapel 
of their own sacred institution. 

When the services were concluded, at six o'clock p. M., 
the monks withdrew into their cells and I was left to 
inspect the building. The chief object of interest inside 
the chapel is a silver casket containing the body of St. 
Alexander Nevskoi, who is the patron saint of Peters- 
burg. This saint is a canonization of the Grand Duke 
Alexander, who was a member of the Rurik dynasty, but 
lived only a short time before the accession of the 
Romanoffs. He is reputed to have been a great warrior, 
and it is said of him that in a battle with the Swedes, 
fought on the very spot where the monastery now stands, 
he defeated his enemies with great loss and killed the 
Swedish commander with his own sword. The bones of 
this hero were originally buried near Kazan, but were 
brought to St. Petersburg and canonized by order of 
Peter the Great. Not long after this event some priests 
of Little Russia slipped into St. Petersburg and succeeded 
in stealing the canonized bones, which they removed to a 
spot not far from where they were first buried. Much 
distress was felt by Peter at this desecration, audit is said 
he fell to praying for direction how to proceed to recover 
the bones. His petition was answered by an angel who 
appeared to Peter in a cloud of fire and told him how the 
bones were taken away and where they were buried ; it 
is told that the Emperor, accompanied by two of his royal 
suite, visited the spot described by the angel and, with 
his own hands, dug up the saint, boxed the bones and 
carried them back to St. Petersburg, determined that 
they should not be again disturbed Peter caused to be 
made an immense silver sarcophagus, into which he 


placed the sacred remains, then closed down the lid, 
locked it and threw the key into the Neva River. This 
solid silver casket, or rather sarcophagus, is in a side 
chapel, to the right of the sacristy. It is square shaped, 
and at each corner is the figure of an angel (large as a 
grown person) in an attitude of mourning. The value of 
this piece of art and precious metals is $250,000. 


WHILE I did not attend divine services in but two 
churches in St. Petersburg, yet I did not neglect to visit 
the Cathedral of St. Petersburg, generally called Cathe- 
dral Kazan, as it is dedicated to an imaginative deity, or 
rather to a canonized woman, who doubtless never existed, 
but who is supposed to have been named Kazan. This 
church is the finest perhaps in all Russia, always excepting, 
of course, the Grand Votive Church in Moscow. It is situ- 
ated on the Nevskoi Prospekt, and is the most conspicu- 
ous building on that great thoroughfare. In shape it is 
that of a cross, its greatest length being 238 feet and its 
width 182 feet, the whole being modeled after St. Peter's 
at Rome, though in height the building does not meas- 
are above 250 feet, and the cost did not exced $4,000,000. 
The most curious and interesting object connected with 
this cathedral is an image of "Lady Kazan," which 
stands near the altar. This image is supposed to have 
been made in the city of Kazan, in 1579. I say " sup- 
posed" because the Russian priesthood do not want to 
positively know anything, being mindful of the fact that 
fascination is much more likely to be excited by legend 
than by established history. The figure is known to have 


been placed in the cathedral in 1821, where it has ever since 
remained, a very strong attraction, and as an investment 
it has no doubt paid the church enormously, for a devout 
peasant can hardly look upon it without being moved to 
make a contribution. 

I have called this ideal representation of Lady Kazan 
a figure, or image, but it is neither painting nor image, 
being a medley of both. The Greek religion, as before 
mentioned, prohibits the use of images, but the prohi- 
bition is rather technical than literal. In reality the fig- 
ure proper is a painting, but it is habilitated in regal attire 
and almost covered with precious jewels. There is one 
diamond in the crown valued at $100,000, and a sap- 
phire which forms the center of the tiara is said to be 
worth $500,000 ; it was contributed by the Grand- 
Duchess Catharina Paulovna, who is now " supposed " 
to be getting value received in the court of last resort 

There is invested in churches, decorations and sacred 
images in St. Petersburg more than $200,000,000, a sum 
equal to nearly one-half the value of all other property in 
the municipality ; yet I was surprised to learn that most 
of the money used in sustaining the churches is derived 
from the poorer classes ; this statement appears almost 
incredible but it is none the less true ; its apparent 
exaggeration is somewhat modified, however, by the fact 
that in Russia the priests receive very little more than is 
barely sufficient for their needs, which are few. 
Although Russia is, as a nation, intensely religious, her 
aristocracy incline to sacred matters with such indiffer- 
ence that they cannot be called religious, while there is 
not one among a hundred of her scientists or learned 
men who is not an agnostic. I was told that scarcely 
any of the upper classes attend divine service, and in the 



homes of the nobility an icon i.s beginning to be a rarity. 
So we can readily understand why the burdens of church 
expenses have fallen upon the poorer people, whose loy- 

alty to the faith of their ancestors is unwavering, same 
as we find it in all countries. But as the poor in Eussia 
are so much more numerous than the rich, and because 


they compose the sinews of the government and are its sole 
dependence, their influence is recognized by the govern- 
ment in continuing its religious observances, and in pro- 
viding such pomp as delights the simple votaries of the 
Greek Church. 

It would require too much space to describe the many 
holidays set apart by Russian laws, but some of them are 
observed so generally, and with such display of ceremo- 
nial, that I must mention a few. The most distinguished 
day and festival occasion occurs on August first, which 
is called " First Spass;" or Savior day. It is commem- 
orative of the crossing of the Sea of Galilee by Christ 
and his disciples. The service of celebration begins with 
a te deum at church, which lasts about two hours ; at its 
conclusion a procession is formed, composed of nearly 
all the common people in St. Petersburg, few persons of 
wealth or rank participating. At the head of this pro- 
cession are six peasants, each bearing a sacred banner; 
immediately behind them are two more peasants, who 
carry between them a large painting of the Savior. Be- 
hind these are peasant girls bearing icons of the Madon- 
na and disciples. After the girls comes the chief priest, 
who wears upon his head a golden cross and is clothed in 
rich vestments of the church. Behind him marches the 
long line of peasants, or all who desire to participate in 
the services. The procession thus formed marches to a 
bridge across the Neva River, which has been decorated 
fortheoccitsion with trees, flowers and interlaced branches 
of evergreens. Upon reaching this bridge a short prayer 
is offered by the priest, who then signals a blessing of 
the waters, which is followed by those bearing banners, 
crosses and icons, dipping them into the river three times, 
which is supposed to impart a miraculous influence. Im- 
mediately upon this being done hundreds jump into 


stream, while other hundreds fill bottles, jugs and barrels 
with the precious water that is now believed to possess a 
magic power to heal any and every ailment of humanity ; 
many invalids are carried down to the water and sub- 
merged, fully possessed of the belief that their afflictions 
will be cured, while those who are in sound bodily health 
bathe their heads to keep off disease. These waters, 
which must be taken on the day they are blessed if their 
potency be desired, are supposed to possess miraculous 
virtues for one year, and no amount of evidence could 
shake the faith of a peasant in this belief, although I 
could not find any peasant who kneAv of a cure having 
been effected by using the water. 

The next most important holiday in Russia is St. 
George's Day, which occurs on the 23d of April, and is 
a celebration in honor of Russia's patron saint. So 
severe are the winters in northern Russia that it is custom- 
ary to keep cows and sheep stabled from November 
first until St. George's Day, when they are turned out of 
doors, their release being made a chief part of the holiday 
ceremonials. On the morning of this day the peasants 
arrange tables, spread with white cloths, about the stables 
containing their domestic animals, upon which they place 
bread, water and eggs. Around these tables stand the 
peasants, male and female, each provided with an icon of 
some saint, and at the stable door stands a priest who 
bears a large banner having four portraits painted upon 
it and also a picture representing St. George killing the 
dragon. Beside him is a basin of water which he con- 
secrates by dipping into it a small cross three times. 
Afterpreachinga short sermon the priest opens the stable 
doors, the cows and sheep come out before him, and he 
sprinkles them with holy water, from the basin, with a 
little bruih. 


I do not remember of having ever heard of a custom 
among any people so singular, if not paganish, as that 
which prevails among the poorer classes in Russia, and 
known as Recollection Monday. Feasting among the 

tombs, I am aware, was once a custom among the Jews, 
who did it as a mark of respect for their departed friends, 
as jilso do the lower classes of Irish hold " wakes," but 



just for what purpose they cannot themselves tell. But 
the custom, as now observed in Kussia, is much more 
radical in character than either the Irish or ancient Jewish 
ceremonies. The celebration of Kecollection Monday is 
begun by services of mass held in the various chapels, at 
the conclusion of which a large amount of food, consist- 
ing of Easter eggs, salt, cake and fruit, which is brought 
into the chapel sin baskets, is taken forward to the priest 
for his blessing. Wine and vodka are not a necessary 
part of the provisions used at the ceremonies, but con- 
siderable quantities are nevertheless provided. After the 
chapel services are finished processions are formed, headed 
by priests, which march to the cemeteries and there be- 
gin lamentations for the dead. But this manifestation 
of grief very soon changes into a wild, bacchanalian 
revelry; men, women and children drink vodka until 
their condition is shocking to civilization ; ribaldry, lewd- 
ness, and demoralizing actions of almost every kind 
characterize those who visit the cemeteries on these occa- 
sions. The priests, drunk and boisterous like their 
parishioners, stagger around with tapers and crosses, 
soliciting fees for reciting prayers over the graves ; these 
priests, provided they are sober enough, will pray fifteen 
minutes over any grave for the sum of fifty copecks 
(twenty-five cents), this being the basis of the regular 
tariff fixed by them ; the dead who have no friends will- 
ing to pay this amount, have to sleep without prayers 
and take their chances of being burned. 

I have mentioned a middle class in Russia, but in re- 
ality there are only two classes, the aristocratic and the 
peasant. Russian subjects, as a rule, are either very 
poor or exceedingly rich, so that in my references to a mid- 
dle class I intended to designate what in America we 
call the office-holding people. But in Russia this means 



more than it does in America, for officers are much more 
numerous in that country, and being in the government 
service, even though they may be ever so poor, yet they 

are accorded a position in society above the peasantry, 
but not equal to the aristocracy ; thus we can only desig- 
nate them as the middle class ex qfficio. 

It is a fact no less singular than unreasonable, that the 


poor pay nearly all the taxes in Russia ; the rich mer- 
chant in St. Petersburg or the owner of municipal real 
estate pays no taxes to the government ; the city revenue 
is of course derived from city property, but the government 
receives mot a dollar, except as a voluntary gift, from 
any source but that of agriculture. When Alexander II. 
granted freedom to the serfs and made the Empire as- 
sume a debt of $50,000,000, to pay the noblemen for 
their manumitted slaves, he did not change the revenue 
laws, so that the liberated peasants are made to purchase 
their own freedom . Every acre of land in Russia and every 
product of the soil is assessed annually and taxed upon a 
basis fixed to meet the annual budget. In all other occupa- 
tions there is exemption from tax. A man who desires 
to engage in business goes to the proper bureau and de- 
clares his intentions ; he is there furnished with a license, 
but he cannot pursue any business except that for which 
his license is issued, under a severe penalty ; thus,. if one 
secures a license to follow tailoring the person so privi- 
leged cannot engage in any other vocation without sur- 
rendering his license as a tailor and taking out a new 
privilege ; his place of business cannot be ('hanged either 
without first notifying the police ; neither can a man 
move his place of residence without complying with the 
same conditions. Merchants who are worth $50,000, 
and who do a business of the same amount annually may 
become members of the first "guild" upon an annual 
payment to the government of $300. Those who are 
worth $25,000 and do an annual busines e(juai to that 
amount may become members of the second " guild" 
by paying annually the sum of $150. These "guilds" 
are established for the recognition of the aristocracy 
similar to those which once obtained in England. Mem- 
bers of the first guild wear a uniform to distinguish their 




rank ; this uniform is more showy than that worn by a 
Russian general ; the cloth is a navy blue, the pants 
having a gold stripe down the leg, while the coat and 
vest are embroidered with gold cord, and on the shoul- 
ders are immense epaulettes of cord and tinsel. These 
merchants are invited to the court balls, but may not 
personally address the Emperor ; they must content 
themselves with viewing' royalty and with being enter- 
tained in the palace. 

Society in St. Petersburg has about it more punctilio 
than anywhere in the world ; it is surrounded by a very 
high wall, and may be reached only by those having 
magic keys ; an introduction will not suffice, as it does 
in America, for every one who seeks admission must have 
the requisites of discreetness, wealth and bizarre manners. 
Catharine II. was the first to organize society in St. Peters- 
burg, and since her character is pretty generally known, 
we may readily surmise the kind of stamp she impressed 
it with. There is in the Hermitage a tablet, which is 
generally concealed from view by a curtain, upon which 
is engraved the "ten commandments" of Catharine, 
which she enforced upon those who attended her parties. 

Literally translated they read as follows : 

1. Leave outside your rank, your hat, and especially 
your sword. 

2. Leave outside your right of precedence, your 
pride, and everything akin to them. 

3. Be gay, but do not damage anything. 

4. Sit, stand or walk, regardless of any person. 

5. Talk calmly, and not too loud, so as not to make 
the head and ears of others ache. 

6. Discuss without anger or excitement. 

7. Neither sigh nor yawn, nor make others gloomy 
or dull-spirited. 

8. Let all join in any innocent game proposed. 


9. Eat whatever is sweet and good, but drink mod- 
erately in order that every body's head may be level upon 

10. Tell no tales out of school ; that which goes in 
at one ear must go out at the other before leaving the 

Punishments provided for a transgression of any of 
these rules were as follows : 

1 . Any person transgressing against any one of these 
rules shall, if two witnesses appear against him, drink 
one glass of cold water, not excepting the ladies, and read 
aloud one page of the "Telemachiade," (written by a 
Russian poet named Tretiakofsky, after whom Tapper 
was probably fashioned . ) 

2. Whoever, during the same evening, acts contrary 
to any three of these rules, shall commit to memory six 
lines of the same work. 

3. Whoever breaks the tenth rule slitill not again be 

There was no austerity in any of these prohibitions 
except the last, which was made to protect the character 
of those who attended ; but though well intended it did 
not fully serve the purpose. If it were not for the fact 
that the stories are too shocking for publication I could 
fill a book with well attested tales of flagrant conduct 
peculiar to these recherche entertainments of Catharine 
II. ; I heard scores of them in St. Petersburg, but they 
are more conducive to morals when forgotten. 

Dancing is a favorite recreation in Russia, indulged in 
by all classes, and carried, in some instances, to great 
excess. While in Moscow I was taken to a public house 
where there was a big ball, and on this occasion I had 
the pleasure of witnessing a genuine Russian dance. 
Among the wealthier people very little dancing is seen 




that is not common to Americans, as French masters hold 
schools in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and the people 
naturally adopt the French style. But at this public ball 
there were several gentlemen with whom my guide was 
intimately acquainted, and my request, through him, to 
have the gentlemen execute the Russian dance, was com- 
plied with by four couples. They advanced to the cen- 
ter of the room, and, courtesying, one couple led off 
with a varsouvienne step, which was soon changed to 
lancers time. The other couples followed, and then they 
took positions, so that the respective partners faced each 
other ; now succeeded a movement which language is 
wholly inadequate to describe ; the men crouched down in 
what appeared to be a very painful attitude, as if sitting 
on their heels ; in this position they would kick first with 
one leg and then with the other, without changing their 
attitude, and continued this violent exercise until exhaus- 
tion was plainly manifested. During this time the ladies 
waltzed around their partners and tossed their heads 
from side to side in a coquettish manner. After the 
crouching movements were concluded the men arose and 
balanced before their partners, then placing their arms 
akimbo, they began an awkward shuffling, or rather 
stamping, something like the Sioux war dance, and \ 
doing this they tossed their heads, stuck out their tongues, 
pouted and looked cross-eyed. 


the summer season St. Petersburg is almost 
deserted, all the better classes taking up their residence in 
suburban places, the most popular and fashionable resort 





being Parvelosk, which is situated eighteen miles out of 
the metropolis. The ground on which Parvelosk is built 
was donated by the Grand Duke Constantine, who erected 
a music-stand, and laid out about two thousand acres of 
the surrounding ground in a park, which has since been 
improved at an expense of $1,00.0,000. Near this park 
are hundreds of beautiful cottages, in the midst of green 
lawns studded with flowers and statuary ; parties are 
given nearly every night in these summer mansions, a 
few of which I had the pleasure of attending. No people 
are so polite and fashionable as the wealthy class of 
Russia, and, I may add, that not even in Paris is there 
such abandon, and perfect freedom, exhibited as at a 
Russian ball. 

About the first of October those who have summered 
in rural towns begin to return to St. Petersburg, and 
directly after this date "the fashionable season opens in 
the city. There arc two streets in St. Petersburg which 
can hardly be surpassed for beauty, one of these, Nevskoi 
Prospekt, runs north and south, from the Admiralty 
building to the Alexander Nevskoi Monastery", a distance 
of three miles, and is as level as a floor ; the street is one 
hundred and fifty feet broad, fifty foot of it being paved 
with six-sided blocks, set in like the Nicholson pavement 
except that there are no interstitial strips and fillings of 
gravel, the blocks being laid in direct contact ; this makes 
a driveway of rare excellence, and, indeed, such as cannot 
be found anywhere else. The other noted street is the Bol- 
shaya Moscowa, or great Moscow, which runs east and 
west about two miles. It is constructed like the Nevs- 
skoi Prospekt, and both streets arc lined with line build- 
ings. These are the favorite resorts of fashionable people 
with fine carriages, troikas, and magnificent sleighs. 
These conveyances are sumptuously made, and are gen- 



I -4 


erallj drawn by black horses in beautiful caparisons 
decorated with gold and silver, while in the semi-circle of 
the douga are a dozen silver bells that merrily jingle and 
fill the air with cheery music. There are also many drives 
through Alexander Park, around the suburbs of St. Peters- 
burg, and over the long, broad wooden bridges which 
span the Neva. 

When winter fairly sets in, early m November, the 
court balls are given, and after the Neva freezes over an 
ice palace is built every year on the frozen stream. This 
palace is a thing of sucji great beauty that it, is worth 
many miles of travel to see. It is built of translucent 
blocks of ice two feet thick, which, upon being laid to- 
gether, are solidified by pouring water over the outside 
and inside walls. The roof and ceiling are also made of 
ice, and the architecture of the whole is very beautiful. 
The interior is elegantly furnished with furniture taken 
from the Winter Palace, magnificent chandeliers are sus- 
pended from the ceiling, golden sconses are set in the 
Avails, and luxurious carpets cover the floors. It is in 
this beautiful, fairy-like palace that some of the finest 
royal balls given in St. Petersburg by the Imperial family 
are held. 

Courtship, marriage and domestic life in Eussia are 
radically different from what they are in America. As 
in China, the Russians conduct their love affairs largely 
by proxy : not because of any peculiar timidity, but in 
conformity with customs which have prevailed among 
them from time immemorial. Among the upper classes 
there are many very beautiful women, with forms as 
graceful as may be seen among the Jiaut ton promenaders 
on the Avenue del' Opera in Paris ; but among the peasantry 
beauty is almost as rare as philosopher stones ; not only 
are their faces coarse, flabby and devoid of delicate color, 



but their forms are vulgarly repulsive, every develop- 
ment tending: towards shapeless obesity ; with them mod- 

. , 


esty, too, is an unknown quality, while untidiness is a 
peculiarity of them all. Yet, no more attractive swains 


fall iii love with these mottled maidens, woo them in a 
cholicy sort of way, and marry them without manifesting 
any special pleasure over the event. In. Russia as in Ger- 
many, there is a great love for accordions and concer- 
tinas ; as the Spanish lover beguiles his inamorata with 
dulcet notes trumnicd on a guitar, so does the Russian 
peasant persuade his favorite to some secluded bower, 
and there puffs into her ears with the bellows of his ac- 
cordion some tune which he calculates will swell her 
heart. But however greatly he may surcharge her with 
love's melody, or however eager he may be to procure 
an admission of her tender feelings, he will smother the 
desire and abide the customs of his country. He there- 
fore goes home to his father, to whom he declares his 
love and desire to many; the father then invites the 
parents of his son's flame to take tea ; this invitation 
being accepted, the father cunningly broaches the subject 
of marriage and at length speaks plainly of his son's 
desire ; the matter is arranged entirely between the old 
folks, but if either of them objects, then there can be no 
marriage, for young people in Russia never disobey their 

There is another custom in Russia no less peculiar than 
the courtship just described; it is in using a "match- 
maker" to arrange marriages. This personage is a very 
important one, being a professional body, whose chief 
occupation is dividing titles ; that is securing for poor but 
titled lords well dowered butuntitled ladies, for it should 
not be forgotten that all the world is in a scramble for 
titles, however empty and unprofitable they are in fact. 

The accompanying engraving, made from FedotofFs 
celebrated painting entitled the Svakha Matchmaker 
conveys a comprehensive idea of her employment ; briefly 
described, and using terms employed by the Russians, this 



picture reads thus : The man in the caftan (the long coat 
worn by the middle and poorer classes in Russia) is evi- 
dently a moujik parvenu, who has been fishing with a 

golden bait for a husband of rank superior to his own for 
his tseeplonok chicken ; a "poulet engraisse," if money 
can make her so. The fortunate svakha, not less con- 


tented than the happy parents, is come to announce the 
polkovnik (colonel), who has consented to he a suitor for 
the fair one; and the officer -who, nothing diffident, has 
come to take the offered prize, is giving the last stroke to 
a well-cherished moustache. Both the mother of the 
maiden and the syakka hold, displayed in their palms, a 
nasavoi-platok (nose-handkerchief), according to the idea 
of such persons that the exhibition of that article-is a 
sine qua non of good breeding. On ti side-table refresh- 
ments are awaiting the guests, the Tcoulibayalca ( fish-cake) , 
favorite dish of the middle classes, being the principal 
attraction. The servants, who are whispering in the cor- 
ner, and who address their -moujik-master as an equal, 
with " Thou/' in spite of his wealth, are as much inter- 
ested in the event as their Icazein (master) or the mistress 
with \\QY pavoynik (head-dress), which gives her such an 
important appearance. The young lady's apparent dis 
tress is more than probably feigned. To complete the 
ensemble, Fedotoff has painted a cat stroking or washing 
with its paw the side of the head nearest the door by 
which a visiter is expected, as intelligent cats are sup- 
posed to do by anticipation. 

I did not have the pleasure of seeing a marriage per- 
formed while in Russia, but from an English gentleman 
who has lived in St. Petersburg for the past fifteen years, 
I obtained a description of the ceremony which he at- 
tended at the marriage of his chambermaid, and which 
he described to me as follows : 

"I never had but one married servant in my house- 
hold, and she was a chambermaid named Macha a nice, 
pretty, and obliging peasant girl, who had been with us 
for about two years. For some time I had observed that 
she seemed discontented, and on one occasion, asking her 
why she was not as gay as usual, she replied that she was 


nearly eighteen years old and not yet married. Had I 
been a single man I might have had serious ideas of propos- 
ing myself to such a pretty girl ; but I simply persuaded her 
to bear up under her misfortune, and to bide God's time 
for a husband. 

I had quite forgotten the circumstance, when one night 
late, hearing a great disturbance down in the servants' 
offices, I went to see what was the matter. As I entered 
the servants' room all was in confusion, boxes were 
being opened, bundles ransacked, dresses measured, boots 
thrown about, under-linen inspected, beads counted (the 
Russian costume is never worn without as many as six to 
eight rows of beads round their throat), stockings exam- 
ined, bed-linen animadverted upon, jewelry valued, go- 
loshes felt, and fur mantles tried on. After a glance at 
these things, I turned my gaze upon the occupants of the 
room. There were three or four women servants be- 
longing to the house, a couple of respectable peasant 
women, dressed in the usual red chintz short petticoats 
and leather fur-lined mantles, with brilliantly trimmed 
hoods on their heads, and three peasant men ; these last 
were all fine muscular-looking fellows, with their high 
knee boots, velvet breeches, and red-and-blue shirts, 
worn loosely outside the nether garment, something like 
our old English mock-frocks, except their being shorter, 
and worn with a many coloured ceinture. All the persons 
there present seemed to be thoroughly interested in the 
exhibition of clothes going on ; but the youngest of the 
three men showed a slight restlessness as box after box 
was hurriedly opened, and the contents of each, meeting 
with apparent approval from the elder among the peas- 
ants, elicited from him grunts of satisfaction and digs in 
the ribs for the young man. 

At lust, when all had been well examined, Macha, the 


chambermaid, who all this time had been doing much 
the harder part of the work in opening and expatiating 
on the merits of each article, received a hearty slap on 
the shoulder from the fine old peasant there present, who 
in his own native language wished her "much happi- 
ness." On this the young man arose from the bench 
where he had been sitting and, naming a day in that same 
week wherein we then were, slouched out of the cell or 
cave (as one might well call the apartments of the ser- 
vants) to have, we may suppose, some of his favorite 
" vodka" (the usual Russian spirit drunk by the peas- 
ants) . This scene that I had been witnessing was neither 
more nor less than a preliminary before marriage. The 
sturdy old peasant there was the father of the young fel- 
low who had just gone out, and he had come up from 
the country to find a wife for his son. He had heard of 
this young woman from a traveling peddler who went 
every three months to Moscow to replenish his pack, and 
who knew half the girls by name who were in want of 
husbands. On the strength of this information from 
the peddler the old peasant (the father of the bridegroom- 
elect), his wife and son had come to judge for themselves 
as to the eligibility of Mancha's goods and chattels ; but, 
if they had found any article or articles wanting in the 
bride's trousseau, there would have been no marriage. 
Everything depended upon the bride's clothes ; but all 
was there, even to the 154 rubles of the hard-earned sav- 


ings of the peasant-girl. So she was to be married ! and 
she considered herself fortunate in having a husband 
given her ; not that she liked him, for she had only seen 
him for the first time that day. He and his father, the 
old peasant, lived far away in the country; but as the 
spring was coming on, and the old father would want 
somebody beside his own wife to help to prepare the 


earth for the seed to be sown , the best thing was to get a 
wife for his son, and thus secure the help of another pair 
of hands during seed time without the expense of extra 
wages. So Mancha, our chambermaid, was to be mar- 
ried. She was happy as a bird. For a long time she 
had stood much chaff as to being an old maid ; but now 
she was going to be married, and the " Benediction," (a 
Russian rite preceding marriage) and wedding day had 
already been fixed by the future husband himself. Now 
she could make fun of others, for in Russia it is a seri- 
ous thing for a girl if she is not married as soon as the 
law permits that is, at sixteen. 

Friday came, the day of * ' Benediction . ' ' Macha went 
about her work as usual ; she neither seemed anxious nor 
nervous. As she had been a good servant, we were all 
going to honor her by appearing at the ceremony. At 
about 7 p. M. a small table, covered with a white cloth, 
was arranged in one corner of our large family dining- 
room, two or three images of saints, ornamented with 
flowers and precious stones, were placed on the table, 
together with a large round sort of bread or cake, which 
was to play no mean part in the ceremony. A few 
minutes later the steps of the priest were heard on the 
marble staircase, together with the heavier step of the 
peasants' feet, and in another moment the room was full 
of the bride's friends, arrayed in the" most gorgeous 
chintz dresses, and of the bridegroom's mates, dressed in 
the usual outdoor black leather "pelisse," lined with 
sheepskins. All those friends and relations belonging to 
the lady in whose house the ceremony was taking place 
stood immediately behind the priest. After everything 
was arranged in place, a slight stir and bustle was heard, 
and, the crowd making way, the future bride came sail- 
ing in, beautifully attired in a salmon-colored silk and 


tulle dress, which her mistress had worn at the very ball 
given in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh and his Imperial 
wife by the town of Moscow. How splendid all her 
friends thought her ! She had innumerable rows of 
pearls around her neck and arms ; her veil was of net ; 
but though the dress was magnificent, and must have been 
very effective when worn by a lady, yet on this peasant 
woman, with her arms and hands and sun-burnt com- 
plexion, it looked ghastly and made the wearer appear 
repulsive. She passed awkwardly up the sails and took 
her place before the effigies of saints, or " images," as 
they are called, and immediately after, her future hus- 
band (who seemed half-frightened) slipped from the 
crowd, followed by his father, and took up his position 
on the right side of the bride. Then the ceremony of 
"Benediction" commenced; it lasted about forty min- 
utes, the priest reading and chanting together with his 
clerk many psalms and prayers, while the future man and 
wife continually bowed themselves to the ground, touch- 
ing the floor with their foreheads. Then the round cake 
of bread was put into their hands by the priest, and 
was kissed by the recipients, afterwards by the bride- 
groom's father, and then again by the bride's mother, 
father and friends. This part of the ceremony is to show 
that "bread is .life, and that they pray they may ever 
have bread both in this life and in the one to come." 

As soon as the priest had finished, champagne was 
brought in by the generosity of the lady of the house ; 
the first glass was handed to the priest, and the next to 
the engaged couple, who now remained as if struck dumb. 
As soon as they put their lips to it, congratulations pour- 
ed in from all the assembled crowd, who, on receiving 
an acknowledgment for their kind wishes, could oblige 
them to kiss each other as often as they were told.- Of 


course everybody did so, while the poor unhappy pair 
had to go through the loving, caressing ceremony as if 
enjoying it. When all the glasses were emptied the 
priest dismissed the happy couple, the " Benediction " 
was over, and now nothing but " Marriage " remained to 
be solemnized. This last ceremony was to be performed 
on the following Sunday, so that acquaintance, examina- 
tion of wardrobe, Benediction, and Marriage would be all 
got through with in less than a week. The Sunday came, 
and with it a great thaw ; the distance to the church was not 
far, but the bride could not go in her thin boots even ten 
steps, so an " Isvostchik" was called, who gently placed 
the future bride in his vehicle, and drove her to the church. 
There the ceremony was somewhat long, in fact, so much 
so that the bride's cousin was unable to continue holding 
the wreath over her head throughout the whole ceremony ; 
he was relieved by another peasant, who took kindly to 
the task, and who was heard to mutter, " The bride is a 
bonny lass, I'd give six years to have her !" After the 
ceremony all the party adjaurned to a public-house or 
"Traktir," where they made as jolly as they possibly 
could with five or six quarts of " vodka " for the men, 
and as many quarts of quass, or what the French call 
Limonade des Cochons, for the women. 

This then is the usual style of Eussian marriages 
amongst the peasantry, the difference being only that in 
ordinary cases, where the lady takes no interest in the 
persons marrying, the ceremony is performed in the 
lower regions of the house, and the bride may not be so 
elegantly attired as was our Macha. That Macha was 
well married according to Russian ideas I have no doubt, 
but would it not have been better had she married the 
man who would have served six years to have her?" 

Easter customs in Russia are very pretty, this day 




being observed like Christmas or New Year is with us. * 
Easter eggs, which, however, are not colored, are used 
in a variety of ways to encourage courtship. " Catching 
butterflies " is a peculiar sport of Easter, which consists 
in young men of the villages going about on snow-shoes, 
with nets, crying out, " who'll -be my butterfly;" the 
idea is that the girl who is first seen in a doorway by one 
who carries the net and who smiles upon him, will be- 
come his wife. 

But I am sorry to say that domestic life in Russia is 
generally a very unpleasant existence. Among the peasan- 
try there is little virtue but a great deal of vice. Men 
and women are both prone to drink, and they never know 
anything of refinement. A peasant thinks very much 
less of his wife than of his horse, because he can easily 
obtain the former, but the latter he must pay cash for ; 
this is the way he looks at married life. During my 
short stay in St. Petersburg, I saw scores of men beating 
their wives in the street and no one cared to interfere. 
One particular instance I witnessed of extreme brutality, 
a man began abusing his wife who made no complaint 
but doggedly hung her head (I suspected that she was 
half drunk), whereupon he knocked her down with his 
fists and then kicked her unmercifully ; she was very 
badly hurt but he jerked her upon her feet again and 
then squeezed her right hand until the bones were almost 
crushed ; she screamed with pain and implored him to 
desist, but he dragged her off with him still squeezing her 
hand and occasionally striking her in the face. Although 
a policeman and dozens of citizens stood by watchingthe 
husband's cruelty, none offered to interfere. But I was 
assured that all Russians whip their wives, which I am 
quite prepared to believe of the poorer classes ; how 
could we expect them to be kind and affectionate to the 


wives when the church, which is all-powerful and influen- 
tial in Russia, teaches that women have no souls and that 
their proper relation to man is that of an inferior being 
who may approach him only in subjection, and may not 
dispute any of his acts however unjust or flagitious ; thus 
wives in Russia are hardly as well cared for as domestic 
animals, and their labor I am sure is much greater. 



As a race the Jews have endured more persecutions 
than any other people, and yet they have always been 
the most prosperous and homogenious. There are several 
remarkable race peculiarities about them which may be 
found in no other religious sect, chief among these strange 
characteristics being their tenacity, whether regarded in 
a religious or business sense. Everyday we meet intelli- 
gent men, who may have been raised under the most 
pious tutelage and had their youth fully saturated with 
Christian precepts, going about denying Christ, but how 
many Jews, in all history, have departed from their faith 
and accepted Christ as the promised Messiah ? I never heard 
of one. Yet, branded with contempt, driven from homes 
which their own industry~builded ; despoiled of their 
property by edicts of Christian governments, every sem- 
blance of personal liberty taken from them, and bur- 
dened with special taxes that was but another name for 
confiscation, still, the Jews have prospered in every land, 
under all circumstances, as no other people. We never 
see a Jewish beggar, never hear of them being cared for 


in municipal hospitals or poor houses, and in no other 
way do they become burdens to the State. So that pros- 
perity, despite all adversities, and loyalty to their ancient 
religion, are distinguishing traits in the Jewish character. 

If we ask why the Jews have been so remorselessly 
pursecuted by all countries in which they have sought a 
home excepting in America we are brought to the con- 
sideration of a problem impossible of satisfactory solu- 
tion. In this age of commerce and international reci- 
procity, when the plowshare has superceded the sword, 
when the broad principles of liberalism have taught us 
to respect the opinions of others, even though they should 
be in conflict with our own, it is a matter for surprise that 
there should develope such race prejudices among people 
acknowledging the same sovereign, as would lead to per- 
sonal assaults and from these to outrages which shame 
Russian civilization. 

There are several causes operating in Russia to antago- 
nize the relations between Russians and Jews. When 1 
asked Count Tolstoi for an explanation of the outrages 
he shrugged his shoulders, blandly extended his hands 
and made only an untranslatable facial expression. I 
got no satisfaction from the minister and therefore 
extended my inquiries into other quarters, with better 
results. In the early part of 1882 Alexander III. sent 
for and requested an interview with one of the Roths- 
child bankers, who was just completing a magnificent 
residence in St. Petersburg. The Czar was in sore need of 
money to meet the budget that had been submitted, so, 
rather than entrust the negotiation of a loan to his Chancel- 
lor or Minister of Finance he concluded that, by seeking 
a personal interview with Rothschild, he could secure, at 
a moderate rate of interest, the sum required. In re- 
sponse to the Czar's request Rothschild appeared at the 


Peterhoff Imperial residence, where he was very soon 
made acquainted with the Emperor's wishes, but instead 
of treating the request for a loan in a business way Roths- 
child took advantage of the occasion to express a strong 
disapproval of the Jewish outrages that had already taken 
place in southern Russia, and then had the temerity to 
remind the Czar that it was a Jew to whom the govern- 
ment had come for financial aid. Without defending his 
policy the Czar arose, and pointing his finger toward the 
door said, "There is the exit, be gone at once, and I 
order you to quit Russia entirely ; this country shall not 
be your place of residence, for the sight of you would 
pollute an honest man." Rothschild was not slow to 
obey the peremptory order, and his unfinished palace in 
St. Petersburg is now for sale at a great bargain. This 
incident may serve as a straw to indicate from whence 
the wind of Jewish oppression blows. But there is an- 
other almost equally important fact having a direct bear- 
ing upon this vexed question : 

Count Ignatieff came to the office of Minister of 
the Interior in 1880, I believe : he was trusted with 
carte blanche powers because he ranked next to Gortcha- 
koff as a diplomatist ; but it was within a few months 
after his acceptance of the ministerial port folio that 
fresh outrages were reported perpetrated upon the Jews 
in Poland and southern Russia. The Count was expected 
to punish those engaged in the attack and for a time 
every person thought he would bring down a retributive 
justice upon the heads of all who molested the Jews. 
This idea obtained by reason of the Count's issuing 
several dreadful orders addressed to commanders of 
troops throughout Russia, ordering them to punish with- 
out mercy all Jew baiters ; he went still further, and 
declared that he intended to put down every Jewish out- 


break by the strong force and law at his command. His 
violent policy thoroughly alarmed the riotous factions for 
a time, but as none of these laws or declarations were 
put into effect the outrages were begun again and week 
after week grew more horrifying. The Jews were not 
only robbed of their money and merchandise, but mobs 
entered their residences, killed their little children, bru- 
tally and lustfully assaulted the females, brained the men 
and then burned the desecrated homes. Ignatieff con- 
tinued to threaten, but he never punished, until finally it 
was currently reported that he secretly connived at and 
encouraged the assaults ; not only was it so reported but, 
impressed with the fact, many of the richest Jews in 
Russia raised a purse of more than two hundred thousand 
roubles, which they used to accomplish his removal. How 
this money was applied I did not learn, but my informa- 
tion that it was so used is of such a character as does not 
admit of any doubt. Ignatieff, we know, was dismissed 
very suddenly and at a time when he had planned many 
changes which it was reported had been approved by the 

Being unable to obtain any satisfactory information in 
St. Petersburg concerning the Jews, and as there were no 
records from which official data could be had descriptive 
of the outrages, I decided to visit Warsaw, in Poland, 
because several outbreaks had occurred in that vicinity, 
and because I knew Warsaw to be very largely populated 
by Jews. Accordingly I went to Moscow and there took 
the train for Warsaw, which is five hundred miles distant. 
This road is not only the most aggravating line on which 
I ever travelled, but it is next to the road which runs 
from Moscow to Odessa, and I am told that travel on this 
hitter line is worse than riding a country pig to market. 
By advice of a gentleman whose acquaintance I had form- 


ed in the Holy Mother City, upon taking passage I be- 
sought the guard of a first-class van and gave him five 
roubles not to put any other passenger in with me, so that 
I might be the sole occupant and thus be enabled, to 
stretch out on the seat and sleep. A little explanation 
at this point will no doubt be of benefit to the reader : in 
Russia, as in all Europe, passenger cars are made in com- 
partments, generally four in each car, entrance to which 
is made at as many side doors ; the guards are what we 
call conductors, but instead of there being one in charge 
of an entire train, as in this country, in Russia there is a 
guard for each car. The guard to your compartment is 
your keeper, because, as you enter he locks the door 
which he does not open until a large station is reached. 
There are no sleeping cars run on the line between Mos- 
cow and Warsaw for fear, perhaps, that the passengers 
might sleep themselves to death. Such monotonous 
scenery, a level, gray, sandy, weird waste, not a mole 
hill even to relieve the surface, and when a fine forest is 
passed you instinctively remark on its striking resem- 
blance to the others, every tree being apparently of the 
same height, diameter, and general appearance. The 
time between Moscow and Warsaw is fifty hours, but it 
appears like an age in the earth's life and development. 
At every little station the train stops to allow train-hands 
and passengers to take tea ; when it is ready to proceed 
again the chief guard blows a police whistle twice, which 
is answered by two from the engine ; at this a fellow who 
stands beside a switch generally one hundred yards ahead 
of the engine, blows a little brass horn and holds up a fold- 
ed green flag; another fellow rings a gong, ten or a 
dozen guards cry out "all aboard," or its equivalent, 
the doors are then shut, and if no accident occurs the 
train starts off like an old man suffering from hypochon- 


dria and inflammatory rheumatism. At every road 
crossing there is a woman standing holding out her green 
flag, I presume to let the engineer know that the coast is 
clear, but then this seems to be unnecessary, for the 
train would never do any damage to anything that could 
crawl. But the funniest thing about railroading in 
Eussia, or at least what amused me most, was to see 
how the axle boxes were examined ; at every stopping 
place, however small, and utterly regardless of the 
speed at which we had been creeping, two well-greased 
men passed along the train with hammers, tamping and 
oil, sounded each wheel and critically examined for hot 
boxes. They must have gotten the idea of hot boxes 
from the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, or 
else read about them in foreign journals, for I am 
quite sure there was never a hot box on the Moscow 
and Warsaw road. 

We stopped one hour and a half at three different 
places, Smolensk, Minsk and Brest ; before, we had stop- 
ped to drink tea, but at these cities the delay was made to 
give every passenger and train-man time to get drunk, 
and I never saw such an industrious use of opportunity 
made as on these occasions ; every fellow made a rush 
for vodka, which was kept in decanters on tables, and 
distributed by women, in small glasses ; in about fifteen 
minutes I was the only sober man on the train ; such 
yelling, singing and carousal, but no one seemed to get 
mad until another train met us at Minsk, loaded with 
soldiers. The troops were in box-cars and their first sal- 
utations convinced m,e that they, too, were drunk ; despite 
every effort made by their officers the soldiers got out of 
their cars, made a raid on the station, and then directed 
their attention to about one dozen of our passengers who 
had expressed some objections to the high-handed privil- 



eges that were being indulged by the troops ; both sides 
drew up their forces in fine style and then began a tongue 

fight which for virulence, noise and froth I never saw 
equaled, but with all their vehement gesturing, neither 
party advanced beyond their original stations, so that a 


collision was avoided, and the row, once so threatening, 
became only a farce of cowardice. 

In making the trip from Moscow to Warsaw I was 
without an interpreter, and of course had to take the 
blunt end of every obstacle. I had learned two or three 
words of Russian, but only one that I could make use of 
while railroading, this single word was cht\ meaning tea ; 
thus, whenever I reached an eating station I would run 
up to a luncheon counter, cry out chi and then pick up 
whatever I saw that appeared palatable. But a diet of 
tea, brown bread and Russian cakes becomes discouraging 
after a time and I resolved to extend the bill of fare. I 
wanted some meat, beef, mutton, veal, chicken, etc., but 
to all intents and purposes I was a deaf mute. An idea 
came to me, however, when we reached Brest that I was 
not slow to put into execution. Seated at long tables in 
the dining room were fifty or sixty Russians, many of 
whom were officers, and all were drinking tea and 
vodka, or munching dry cakes. Calling a waiter to me 
I gave him to understand, by gesture, that I wanted 
something, which something I indicated by rising to full 
height, clapping my sides three times and then crowing 
loud enough to rattle the dishes. Instantly every eye in 
the room was centered on me, but as I took up my plate 
and passed it to the waiter he comprehended my wishes 
and soon brought me a piece of chicken. All those at 
the tables now understood why I had crowed, and such 
a capital joke did they esteem it that more than a dozen 
came over, shook my hand, laughed immoderately and 
then proffered me bottles of wine ; thereafter my com- 
panions took such an interest in providing for me that 
they anticipated all my wants. 



I reached Warsaw on a Sunday afternoon and engaging 
a carriage drove two miles or more, to the Hotel Vic- 
toria. Warsaw contains a population of 350,000, 
(twenty-three per cent of which are Jews) and is located 
on the Vistula River, a pretty stream, large enough for 
a considerable commerce. Nearly one-half the town is 
built on bottom lands, which portion is so foul with 
dirty people, crazy-looking houses and stinking streets, 
that mufflers for the head could be used to great advan- 
tage by respectable persons while passing through it. 
That portion of the city built on the hill presents a mediae- 
val appearance, particularly those buildings that overlook 
the river. 

I was now in Poland, a country that has passed through 
more desperate ordeals than any other nation on the 
globe ; Warsaw, her ancient capital, that has been the 
home of so many distinguished heroes, whose streets 
have been channels through which the blood of thousands 
has rushed, and the scenes of massacres that are too 
dreadful for contemplation ; here have flourished a peo- 
ple so proud that rather than lose their identity by amal- 
gamation with other powers, chose to sacrifice themselves, 
and die in the blazonry of bravery, freedom and the his- 
tory they had made. On every square there stands some 
monument commemorating the deeds of her great men, 
while tablets are here and there discovered by visitors, 
telling in simple annals of bloody deeds on the spots they 
mark. Though rent by three powerful nations, Ger- 
many, Austria and Russia, who fastened their fangs in 
poor Poland like hungry dogs fighting for a piece of 
meat, she is still proud, though no longer glorious a 


sick lion that has yet a brave heart but cannot defend 

Poland is now a orovinee of Russia, but, true to her 
chivalric character., she refuses to assimilate with that 
nation. There are only two Greek churches in Warsaw, 
but of Lutherans and Catholics there are many. So great 
is the hatred for Russia that Poland refuses to adopt 
Muscovite exchange ; copecks and roubles are compara- 
tively rare in Warsaw, in place of which the Poles use a 
little coin called " grozy," equivalent to one-half cent, 
which was the last coinage of Poland, in 1840. 

I was very much rejoiced to find that the manager of 
the Hotel Victoria spoke excellent English, and as he was 
a man of some prominence in Warsaw, his services were 
to me of great importance. Through him I obtained an 
introduction to the Mayor and also to some other impor- 
tant gentlemen of the city, who afterwards gave me such 
assistance as I needed to secure the information for which 
I had visited the place. Before proceeding with my in- 
vestigations I accepted an invitation from the Mayor, who 
spoke excellent German and a little English, to view the 
city and its most interesting features. Of this drive I 
have a very pleasant remembrance, for never shall I for- 
get my visit to Lazienski Park and Wilanow Palace, 
which are a few miles out of Warsaw, and reached by 
driving over a very rough road, but they are the most 
pleasing sights I witnessed in all Europe. In Lazienski 
Park is the renowned palace of Poniatowski, consisting 
of two buildings, which face each other, four hundred 
yards apart, and both are built on the margin of a hike 
that is grandly beautiful. Though very old the palaces 
are kept in perfect repair, and are furnished in a manner 
befitting the richest and most powerful potentate. But 
though the rooms in these palaces are magnificent a.s 


wealth can make them, I was attracted particularly to the 
ruins of a theatre which, two hundred years ago, stood 
in all its grandeur on the banks of the beautiful lake 
referred to. The arrangement of this gallery of amuse- 
ment was ingeniously romantic. On the banks of the 
lake was built a large amphitheatre, of stone, provided 
with private boxes, which, however, were in the center of 
the semi-circle. Entrance was through doors beside 
which were sculptured dragons, and up a stairway that 
lead to the amphitheatre. The seats were of stone, but 
elegantly cushioned and arranged suitable to the different 
ranks of those who attended the entertainments. In 
front of tips amphitheatre, but on an island in the lake, 
was a stage, also made of stone, most elaborately fitted 
up with all needful accessories for mimic deeds, the fury 
of battle or the plaints of love. These stage representa- 
tions were witnessed by those occupying seats in the 
amphitheatre, the view being greatly enhanced by roman- 
tic surroundings of forest trees, and limpid water spark- 
ling under scintillating rays of a silver moon. But both 
amphitheatre and stage are now in ruins, crumbled with 
the glory of Poland, leaving moss-covered stones as a 
memorial of those times when Polish Kings were in their 
pride, and when ambition crowned their subjects. 

From Lazienski Park we drove four miles to the 
palace of Wilanow, which was built by Poland's great- 
est King, Sobiesky (John III). This fine property is 
the only estate that has escaped Russian confiscation, 
and is still owned and occupied by Sobiesky 's descend- 
ants, who are wealthy enough to preserve its former 
grandeur. The palace is very large and contains many 
galleries filled with curiosities, fine paintings and statu- 
ary ; its floor,- like the palace at Lazienski Park, are of 
polished woods ingeniously inlaid so as to produce a 


most harmonious effect. The grounds cover nearly two 
hundred acres, every foot of which is cared for by the 
most artistic landscape gardeners ; there is also a large 
lake connected with the palace which is kept stocked 
with game fish, and the banks are embowered with trees 
that are luxurious in growth and trimmed in a manner 
which produces an effect almost magical. My curiosity 
was very much excited by three sun-clocks which, by 
chance, I observed on the palace, one being on the east 
end, another on the south, and a third on the west gable 
of the building. These clocks consist of a large dial 
above which is a stone image representing "time;" 
in the right hand of this image, or statue, is a sword 
so exactly placed that the sun's rays falling upon it a 
shadow is thrown upon the dial that indicates the time of 
day, even to a minute. There were three clocks so that 
the sun's position might be facing one of the clocks 
morning, noon, and afternoon. This wonderful time- 
piece for the three must be taken as one has marked 
the hours for nearly one hundred years, having fortunate- 
ly escaped the destructive influences that have desolated 
Poland, and sent so many thousands of her people into 

Returning to the city we drove through the Jewish 
quarters, which are as distinct and clearly defined as is 
the Chinese settlement in San Francisco. Here I ob- 
served a race of people so wedded to their ancient cus- 
toms and religions, as to resist every practice and senti- 
ment of those by whom they are surrounded. Polish 
Jews are as different in character from the Jews of 
America as any two races having a common ancestry can 
be ; they are marvellously exclusive and homogeneous ; 
over their places of business they have signs printed with 
Hebrew letters ; their costume never varies, every man 


among them wearing a long-tailed coat, reaching to their 
knees, and buttoned up tight in front ; around the neck 
they wear a coarse, woolen comfort, and a little cap 
crowns their head. I have no language at my command 
that could describe their filth ; they literally reek with 
stenches. I was told that though bacon is abhorrent 
to them, on account of religious prejudices, yet the 
Jews use it on a certain occasion, viz : when a Jew pur- 
chases a new shirt, his next act is to procure a piece of 
bacon, with which he thoroughly greases the gar- 
ment all over ; he then puts on the shirt and does not 
take it off for one or two years, or until it is entirely 
worn out. The bacon is used to prevent vermin from 
getting on their filthy bodies. I am quite prepared to 
believe this statement, since only such a disgustingly 
nasty practice can account for the odor which they carry 
about them. 

Foul, homely and narrow-minded as the Polish Jews 
are, they succeed in accumulating so much money that 
gentlemen of caste pay them tribute, and they therefore 
force their importance among even the most aristocratic 
class. The character of Shylock will certainly fit some of 
them, judging by the experience of a professor of lan- 
guages in the leading university of Russia, who borrowed 
seven hundred roubles from one under the following cir- 
cumstances, as he told me : A young man, with whose fami- 
ly the professor had long been intimate, lost his mother 
by a sudden illness, and being sorely pressed for funds 
with which to provide burial and to meet other expenses, 
he applied to the professor for a loan, which he promised 
to return within one month. The professor did not have 
the necessary amount, seven hundred roubles, but so in- 
fluenced was he by the entreaties of his young friend, 
that he went to a Jew and borrowed the money, upon 


his situation, as will hereafter be explained. He gave 
his note for the amount, and then, as required, gave an 
agreement binding himself to pay ten per cent, per month 
for the loan ; this he was influenced to'do by a belief that 
the young man would fulfil his obligation at the time ap- 
pointed for payment. But when the month expired the 
promise was violated, so that the professor was left with 
a security debt on his hands which he had no means of 
liquidating. At the end of every month he had to pay 
the Jew seventy roubles, and if he chanced to be one 
day behind time the Jew would berate him soundly, and 
threaten to throw him out of doors by taking all his 
household property. The laws in Russia are such that if 
a debtor becomes delinquent his creditor can peremptori- 
ly attach every article of furniture or clothing belonging 
to the debtor or his wife ; in addition to this, if the debt- 
or holds any position of trust, upon complaint and proof 
of debt made by the creditor, he may be removed, and is 
thereafter disqualified from assuming any place of trust 
again. This law is the creation of an aristocracy, and 
forms one of the principal complaints of Nihilists. The 
Jew was enabled, by threatening an enforcement of this 
most oppressive law, to compel the professor to pay 
the monthly interest, which at times caused him much 
distress. Salaries paid to educators in Russia are so 
small that the professor was never able to discharge any 
portion of the original debt, and when he related the 
circumstances to me he had paid in interest thirty-five 
hundred roubles, while the original debt of seven hund- 
red roubles was still held against him . Fortunately, he had 
just discovered a technicality by which he could avoid the 
further payment of interest ; this loop-hole, as he defined 
it, consisted in the fact, of which a lawyer friend had 
advised him, that the Jew was licensed as a merchant, 


and that he had no broker privilege, so that the lending 
of money by him was an offense, which the professor 
declared he should make the Jew answer for. It was 
another case of Shy lock brought to justice. 


AT Warsaw I found there was such a general ac- 
quaintance with the riots that had taken place against the 
Jews throughout Russia, that I had no difficulty in collect- 
ing all essential facts, and so many, too, that I could not 
undertake to give them the extensive description which 
they merit. I shall therefore have to present a history 
of the riots in a concise form, and within the* space 
remaining that was alloted for this work on Russia and 
exile life. 

The most outrageous atrocities perpetrated against the 
Jews took place in the latter part of 1880 and in 1881. 
Germany started the anti-Semitic agitation, which speedi- 
ly spread to Russia, because of the revolution already ex- 
citec] by factions which had pronounced against law and 
inflamed the masses to disorder. Another reason is found 
in the fanaticism of the Russian people who believe it is 
a righteous act to slay a Jew ; and yet another, and per- 
haps stronger reason still is the natural love of poor, de- 
graded, ignorant and brutal people to engage in plunder. 
The Jews were rich, and the peasantry poor, so a pretense 
was had to despoil them, according to biblical precedent. 

Within a period of eight months, four of 1880 and 
four of 1881, a tract of country equal in area to the 
British Isles and France combined, stretching from the 


Baltic to the Black Sea, was the scene of horrors that 
have hitherto only been perpetrated in medieval days 
during times of war. Men ruthlessly murdered, tender 
infants dashed to death, or roasted alive in their own 
homes, married women the prey to a brutal lust that 
often caused their death, and young girls violated in the 
sight of their relatives by soldiers who should have been 
the guardians of their honor. In the face of these hor- 
rors loss of property is of little moment, yet they were 
accompanied by the razing of whole streets inhabited by 
Jews, by the systematic firing of the Jewish quarters of 
towns in Western Russia, and by the pillage of all the 
property on which thousands of Jewish families were de- 
pendent for existence. 

In addition to all this many Russian towns heartlessly 
seized the occasion to expel from their limits crowds of 
Jews, who were left by this inhuman and deliberate meas- 
ure homeless amid masses infuriated against them. And 
during these scenes of carnage and pillage the local au- 
thorities stood by with folded arms, doing little or noth- 
ing to prevent their occurrence and recurrence, and 
allowed the ignorant peasantry to remain up to this day 
under the impresssion that a ukase existed ordering the 
property of the Jews to be handed over to their fellow- 
Russians. So far from publicly expressing reprobation 
of these outrages, the Minister issued a rescript clearly 
betraying that the Russian authorities fully shared the 
prejudice of the mob, and contemplated adding to the 
burdens and inequalities which have been the direct cause 
of the embittered feeling that has led to these disorders. 

When the assassination of the Czar roused all Russia 
to the highest pitch of excitement, it was confidently pre- 
dicted that the approaching Easter would see an outbreak 
against the Jsws, It was said afterwards that the pre- 


diction was aided in its fulfilment by Panslavist emissaries 
from Moscow, who planned all the subsequent troubles. 
It is at least certain that rumors of a rising had reached 
Elizabethgrad, and caused the heads of the Jewish com- 
munity, who form a third of its 30,000 inhabitants, to 
apply for special protection from the Governor. No 
notice was taken of the appeal, and on Wednesday, April 
27th, the dreaded outbreak took place. A religious dis- 
pute in a cabalet led to a scuffle which grew into a general 
melee, till the mob obtained possession of the dram-shop 
and rifled it of its contents. Inflamed by the drink thus 
obtained, the rioters proceeded to the Jewish quarter and 
commenced a systematic destruction of the Jewish shops 
and warehouses. At first some attempt was made by the 
Jews to protect their property, but this only served to 
increase the violence of the mob, which proceeded to 
attack the dwellings of the Jews and to wreck the syna- 
gogue. Amid the horrors that ensued a Jew named 
Zololwenski lost his life, and no fewer than thirty Jew- 
esses were outraged. At one place, two young girls, in 
dread of violation, threw themselves from the windows. 
Meanwhile the military had been called out, but only to 
act at first as spectators and afterwards as active partici- 
pants. One section of the mob, formed of rioters and 
soldiers, broke into the dwelling of an old man named 
Pelikoff, and on attempting to save his daughter from a 
fate worse than death, they threw him from the roof, 
while twenty soldiers proceeded to work their will on his 
unfortunate daughter. When seen by the gentleman 
who related to me this fact, Pelikoff was in a state of 
hopeless madness, and his daughter completely ruined in 
mind and body. The whole Jewish quarter was at the 
mercy of the mob till April 29th. During the two days 
of the riots 5QQ houses and 100 shops we re destroyed 


whole streets were razed to the ground. It may be 
added that the property destroyed and stolen was reck- 
oned at 2,000,000 roubles ($1,000,000). 

The evidence of pent-up anti-Jewish passion displayed 
by these scenes encouraged the foes of the Jews to wider 
and more systematic attacks. In. the excesses which fol- 
lowed, the masses soon got to recognize professional 
ringleaders from Great Russia. These distributed pla- 
cards, found afterwards to have been issued from a 
secret printing-press at Kiew, in which it was declared 
that the Czar had given his orthodox subjects the prop- 
erty held by the Jews. In most cases the very day on 
which a riot might be expected was announced before- 
hand Sundays and saints' days being chosen, as the 
days when the lower orders were at liberty. After a 
week's pause, a whole series of riots broke out, commenc- 
ing on May 7, at Smielo, near Czergassy, where thirteen 
men were killed and twenty wounded, and 1,600 were 
left without homes. On the following day, Sunday, May 
8, a most serious riot broke out at Kiew, once the capital 
of Russia, and still an important town, containing 20,000 
Jews in a population of 140,000. Here the riot had 
been definitely announced for the Sunday, and the Jews 
sent a deputation to the Governor* requesting him to 
call out his soldiers to prevent disturbance. He blunt- 
ly refused, saying that he would not trouble his soldiers 
for the sake of a pack of Jews. During the riot, which 
broke out on the day fixed, the police and the soldiers 
again acted the same part that they had at Elizabethgrad. 
The first procedure of the mob had been to storm the 
dram-shops, and, staving in the brandy casks, to wallow 
in the spirit. During the period of license that followed 
four Jews were killed, twenty-five women and girls were 
violated, of whom five died in consequence, as was proved 


at the subsequent trials. At the house of Mordecai 
Wienarski, the mob, disappointed in the search for plun- 
der, caught up his little child, three years old, and brutally 
threw it out of the window. The child fell dead at the feet 
of a company of Cossacks who were drawn up outside, 
yet no attempt was made to arrest the murderers. At 
last, when several houses were set on fire, the military 
received orders to make arrests, which they proceeded 
to execute with much vigor, making 1,500 prisoners, 
among whom 150 were Jews arrested for protecting 
their lives and properties. No less than 2,000 Jews 
were left without shelter by the dismantling or the 
burning of their houses, and for the relief of immediate 
necessities a Kiew committee soon afterwards had to 
disburse the sum of $150,000. 

Next day similar scenes of violence occurred at Brow- 
ary, in the neighborhood of Kief, in the province of 
Czernigow. On the same day still more disgraceful 
deeds were enacted at Berezowka, in the province of 
Cherson. Here lust seemed more a principal motive 
than plunder. While the Jews of the village were at 
synagogue a mob attacked the Jewesses and violated 
many of them, causing the death of three ; others who 
escaped the worse evil were driven into the river, and 
nine ultimately died from the effects of the exposure. 
When the Jews came to the rescue, two of them were 
killed and a young lad was stoned to death. 

The neighborhood of Kief was again visited on the 
next day, May 10, at Konoptop and at Wassilkov. At 
both places the attacks had been planned : at the former 
wooden crosses were placed before the doors of Chris- 
tians that their houses might be spared, while at the 
latter the day of riot had been announced, and the report 
diligently spread about that the Czar had given the 


erty of the Jews away. At Wassilkov and in the neigh- 
borhood eight lives were lost, seven at one fell swoop at 
the inn kept by a Jew named Rykelmann. He was forced 
to admit the mob to his. wine-cellars, and, during his ab- 
sence in search of assistance, the drunken rioters cut the 
throats of his wife and six children. 

By this time the chief towns and villages of Southern 
Russia were ablaze with violence and riot. Throughout 
the whole of the provinces of Cherson, Taurida, Ekat- 
erinoslav, Poltava, Kief,' Czernigov, and Podolia the 
notion, spread fast as wildfire that the Jews and their 
property had been handed over to the tender mercies of 
the populace, a notion that seems almost justified in the 
face of the inertness of the Governor-General in check- 
ing the riots at Elizabethgrad and Kief. At Wasilgin 
the Mayor even read a copy of the supposed ukase to the 
citizens, and a riot would have ensued had not the village 
priest done his duty and declared his belief that no such 
ukase existed. At Alexandrovsk, on the banks of the 
Dnieper, the operatives carried out what they thought to 
be the will of the Czar, on May 13, rendering 300 out of 
the 400 Jewish families of the place homeless, and de- 
stroying property to the amount of 400,000 roubles. As 
usual, the riots were previously announced, and the appeal 
to the Governor to send for additional troops proved 
fruitless. Even after the riots had commenced, a tele- 
gram dispatched to the capital town of the province, 
Ekaterinoslav, was delayed for four hours by the Gover- 
nor before it was sent off. At Ekaterinoslav itself a 
projected riot was happily prevented by the issue of a 
proclamation by the local authorities declaring the Jews 
to be true subjects of the Czar and entitled to protection 
of their property. At Polonnoze, near Kief, a disaster 
was averted by the forethought of the Mayor, who 



changed the market day to Saturday, and on the peas- 
ants complaining he read them a lecture on the utility of 
the Jews as middle-men, and induced them to promise 
not to molest their Jewish fellow-citizens. 

From Alexundrovsky the instigators paid a visit to the 
Jewish agricultural colonies in the province ot Ekateri- 
noslav, which have now been established for more than 
forty years. The chief centres, Gulaypol, Orjechgw and 


Marianpol, were visited in turn, and though no violence 
seems to have been done to the persons of the Jews, their 
farms were almost entirely destroyed. At Orjechow the 
instigators who led the mob were dressed as police 
officers, and produced a document falsely professing to 
be the proclamation of the Czar. . The farming imple- 
ments were all destroyed, and 500 cattle and 10,000 
sheep driven off. At Kamichewka the Jews adroitly 
turned the supposed ukase of the Czar into a safeguard. 
Hearing that the rioters were advancing to attack, they 
brought the keys of their houses to their Christian neigh- 
bors, saying that if the ukase were true it would be bet- 
ter that their neighbors should have their property than 
the rioters, and if the ukase proved to be untrue, of 
course their good neighbors would return the keys. The 
Christians of the village accordingly repulsed the rioters, 
and in a few days the Jews of Kamichewka were again 
in possession of their property. 

Up to this time the riots had chiefly arisen among 
the urban populations, but they now spread into the rural 
districts and reached every little village where even a 
single Jew resided. A Jew was murdered at Rasdory, 
a few miles southeast of Orjechow, and at Znamenka, 
near Nikopol, on the Dnieper, a Jewish innkeeper named 
Bessor was murdered and his wife dishonored, after 
which both were cast into the river. At Balka, also on 
the bank of the Dnieper, there was only one Jew, Allo- 
wicz by name. A band of ruffians went to his house on 
May 17, and, finding him absent, they violated his wife, 
and, to conceal the crime, set fire to the house while the 
poor woman lay helpless in it. All 'this was witnessed 
by her little daughter, crouched in a ditch hard by. 
On the preceding day another tragedy had occurred at 
Kitzkis, where the house of one Preskoff was set on 


and he, with his two little children, left to roast in it, 
while the wife and mother looked on, vainly appealing 
for mercy to the ruffianly perpetrators of the crime. At 
Gregorievk a Jewish innkeeper named Ruff maim was 
cooped in one of his own barrels and cast into the Dnie- 
per. Again, at Kanzeropol a man named Enman was 
murdered brutally and his wife violated and afterward 
killed. Such were the deeds that were done on the banks 
of the Dnieper during the month of May. 

Meantime the seaport of Odessa had likewise been the 
scene of an an ti- Jewish riot. Originally announced for 
May 13, it was postponed till Sunday, May 15, with- 
out, however, any precautions being taken by the Govern- 
or, who had, as usual, been duly warned of the impend- 
ing outbreak. Though only lasting for six hours, the 
riot resulted in the death of a Jew named Handelmann, 
and eleven cases of violation are reported, one resulting 
in death. Here the Jews seemed to have been most 
energetic in their resistance. Of the 800 arrests made, 
150 were Jews, twenty-six of whom were afterward 
charged with carrying revolvers without a permit. The 
police estimated the damage done at 1,137,831 roubles, 
while those more immediately concerned raised the sum 
to 3,000,000. Similar scenes took place on the same 
day at Wolvezysk, on the borders, where a riot had been 
announced for the Sunday. A week afterward the lower 
orders at Berdyczew rose against the Jews, and on May 
24 a riotous disturbance occurred at Zmerinka, in Po- 

Thus, within a month of the first outbreak, almost 
every town in Southern Russia had seen such horrors as 
here described. Apart from t?e influence of ringleaders, 
the rioters had no cause to incite them to rapine, except 
the force of contagion and the impression that the Czar 


had really transferred all Jewish property to his ortho- 
dox subjects. If once this impression had been officially 
removed, the epidemic would have been checked. In 
many cases it was distinctly shown that the peasants 
liked the Jews, and only pillaged because they thought 
it had been ordered. At Bougaifka, for example, a few 
days after the peasants had destroyed the property of 
the Jews, they became contrite, and gave their Jewish 
neighbors 800 roubles as some compensation for the 
damage they themselves had caused. In the face of such 
a fact, it is tolerably certain that if the supposed procla- 
mation had been energetically and officially denied the 
riots might never have reached the extent that they even- 
tually did. The contagion spread as far as Saratov in 
early June, and thence to Astrakhan ; it even reached a 
town near Tomsk, in Siberia, and caused an anti-Jewish 
riot there. The only bright spot in all this gloom was 
the condition of Poland, where Jews and Poles had 
before lived in amity. This continued till General Igna- 
tieff directed the Governor of Poland to appoint commis- 
sions of experts to consider how the Jews should be dealt 
with, to which fact persons on the spot attribute the rise 
of anti-Jewish feeling that culminated in the Warsaw 
riots. But outside Poland these outbursts of popular 
prejudice placed a population of nearly two millions in 
perpetual dread of their lives and property. At times 
they dared not remove their clothes night .or day, fearing 
that they might have to flee at any moment. 

After the Saratov affair, on June 8, in which 30 Jews 
were wounded, there was a comparative lull in the more 
violent forms of outrage. But early in July the neigh- 
borhood of Kief and the banks of the Dnieper were 
once more visited by scenes which recall the horrors of 
the Middle Ages. On Sunday, the 12th, open rioting 


took place at Penjaslaw, which was characterized by the 
fact that the mob were led to the attack by the sons of 
the merchants of the district. Commercial rivalry add- 
ing its sting to religious and social differences, the strug- 
gle was here of a more violent nature than usual, and, 
while 30 of the molb were wounded, no less than 200 of 
the Jews received serious injuries at the hands of their 
neighbors, and three died in consequence; 176 houses 
were destroyed, some by fire. At Borispol, on July 21, 
scenes occurred during the riots worthy of the worst days 
of the Commune. Women, for almost the first time, made 
their appearance on the scene as assailants, and added to 
its horrors. During the rioting they encouraged their 
friends on to the fight and were seen to assist them to 
violate the Jewesses of the village by holding down the 
unfortunate creatures. A curious petition afterward 
sent from Penjaslaw, demanding, among other things, 
that Jewesses should not be allowed to wear silks and 
satins, may throw some light on the motives of these 

The reader will be by this time satiated with the horri- 
ble crimes which have been laid before him. The im- 
agination may now be able to take in the full meaning 
of the bare statement, so frequently telegraphed to the 
world, that anti-Jewish riots had taken place in such and 
such a district of Southern Russia. Suffice it then to add 
that the month of August saw such riots at Njezin on the 
2d, at Lubny on the 8th, at Borzny on the 18th, and at 
Itchny on the 28th. If September was comparatively 
free from disorders, the cessation must be attributed 
rather to the needs of the harvest than to the quieting of 
the popular mind, for, early in October, the mob attacked 
the Jews of Balwierzyski, in the government of Suwalki. 
October 3 was the Day of Atonement, the most sacred 


day of the Hebrew calendar, and the mob took the occa- 
sion to destroy the synagogue and wreck the Jewish 
quarter, where one Jew was killed and 20 wounded. 
Even as late as November, the myth of the spoliation 
ukase imposed upon the peasantry. On the 15th of that 
month, a band of 100 peasants at Czarwona, near Zito- 
mir, pillaged the property of th-e Jews under that pre- 
text. Lastly, to show the excitable state of the popular 
mind, the Sarah Bernhardt riots at Kief on November 
1$ and at Odessa on November 27 proved that a mere 
suspicion that the actress was a Jewess was sufficient to 
arouse once more the fury of the mob, and cause them 
again to attack the Jewish quarter of those towns. 

Finally, this catalogue of horrors must be concluded 
by a reference to the riots at Warsaw on Christmas and 
the following days. The detailed events of those days, 
when 300 houses and 600 shops were pillaged and devas- 
tated and thousands of victims rendered homeless and re- 
duced to beggary, are doubtless fresh in every one's mem- 
ory, but certain facts must be again referred to, owing to 
their typical character. In the first place, the riot was 
clearly planned, the alarm of fire being simultaneously 
raised in at least two churches, and the mob being direct- 
ed by men who spoke Polish with a Russian accent. The 
culpable neglect of the military authorities of Warsaw 
in refusing to make use of the 20,000 men forming its 
garrison, finds its counterpart in the similar behavior of 
the Governors of Kief, Elizabethgrad, and Odessa earlier 
in the year. The behavior of the police, who are des- 
cribed as only interfering to prevent the Jews from pro- 
tecting themselves, exactly tallies with their behavior 
elsewhere. And, finally, the attempts that were made by 
telegraph officials and others to prevent the true state of 
the case from reaching the rest of Europe may serve to 


account for the extraordinary fact that the enormities of 
the nine months only found the faintest echo in the press 
of Europe or America. Thus, while outrages on women 
were openly committed, the knowledge of this fact was 
guarded so that it might not go outside the Russian 

The outrages recounted in the preceding pages, though, 
no doubt, the most irnoprtant, are far from including all 
the similar events that occurred during the year 1881. 
They have been selected from a list of over 160 towns 
and villages in which cases of riot, rapine, murder, and 
spoliation have been known to occur during the last nine 
months of 1881. Out of these information was collect- 
ed from about 45 towns and villages in Southern Russia. 
In these alone are reported 23 murders of men, women 
and children, 17 deaths caused by violation, and no few- 
er than 225 cases of outrages of Jewesses. 

Such have been the horrors that throughout the past 
year have assailed the 3,000,000 Israelites who inhabit 
Russia. Nor is there any indication that the atrocities 
will cease in succeeding years, unless the Russian Gov- 
ernment will intervene in the sacred cause of civilization 
and humanity. 


BESIDES appealing to the blind passions of the mob, 
the Jew-haters of Russia have resorted to more system- 
atic efforts to harass the hap less Israelites. The Russian 
Moujik has a method almost peculiar to himself of ex- 
pressing his rage and hatred. Whenever the fever point 
of excitement is reached arson is usually the direction in 



which it overflows. So well is this recognized in Russia 
that the peasants have a technical name for the deliberate 
firing of towns the " red cock" is said to crow. Dur- 
ing the year 1881 this method of revenge was resorted to 


on a large scale against the Jews of Russia, especially in 
the West. By the end of June the "red cock" had 
crowed over 15 towns in Western Russia, including Mo- 
hilew, containing 25,000 inhabitants, Witebsk, with 23,- 


000, and Slonim, with 20,000, as well as smaller towns 
like Wolcowysk, Scherwondt, Augustowo, Nowo-Gucdek, 
Ponovicz, and Lipsk. Many thousands of Jews were 
rendered homeless by this means, and on July 3d 6,000 
Jews lost their homes by fire at Minsk, 4,800 being de- , 
prived of every means of subsistence at the same time. 
The town of Pinsk, in the same province, suffered a like 
fate. And shortly afterward a conflagration took place 
at Koretz, in Wolhynia, in which 30 lives were lost and 
5,000 souls left without a home. Every week added to 
the number of fires in towns inhabited by Jews till, by 
the end of September, " the list extended to 41 towns. 
This probably involved the loss of homes to 20,000 

To the mass of homeless and penniless creatures in 
Southern Russia must be added the many victims of pil- 
lage. The violence of the mobs often wrecked whole 
streets of houses as completely as any fire, and it is 
known that 2,000 were thus rendered homeless at Kief, 
1,600 at Smielo, 1,000 at Konotop, 600 at Ouehow, and 
300 at Aluchpff. The value of property destrojed in 
the south has been reckoned to reach $80,000,000. 

It is possible that an aggregate of 100,000 Jewish 
families has thus been reduced to poverty. The ranks 
of the ruined were increased by those who dared not ap- 
ply for their just debts, while in many cases the peasan- 
try deliberately "boycotted" the Jews. It must be 
further remembered that in several places the Jews an- 
ticipated riots by evacuating their homes ; thus, near 
Perejaslay, after the riot at that place, no fewer than 17 
villages in the neighborhood were deserted by the Jews, 
and the same, doubtless, took place in other localities. 
Men fled from the villages in which they had resided all 
their lives. Even after the events of Keiw the Jews of the 


neighborhood, fearing the spread of disorder, crowded, 
at the rate of 100 families a day, into the town which 
had so lately shown itself hostile. .Others fled toward 
the borders, and during the summer months a camp of 
refugees in the open air at Podwoloczyska contained no 
less than 1,500 souls, including children of the tenderest 
age. A few who still possessed some means attempted 
to flee across the frontier, but many were stopped. Of 
5,000 who managed to reach Brody, on the Austrian 
border, in a perfectly helpless state, 2,000 remained 
there huddled in cellars for nearly one month. 

Meanwhile, the municipalities, with the connivance of 
the local governments, took every means in their power 
to add to the misery of the situation. With rough logic 
they argued that, as these riots were directed against the 
Jews, if there had been no Jews, there would have been 
no riots. They accordingly petitioned the governors of 
their provinces to issue orders for the expulsion of the 
Jews from towns in which they had no legal right of 
domicile. The Jews of Russia are only allowed to reside 
in 28 of its provinces, often only in certain towns, and 
the number of permits to reside is, at least theoretically, 
limited. For the last 20 years, however, these barbarous 
laws have been somewhat allowed to fall into desuetude, 
and many Jews have ventured beyond the narrow limits 
assigned to them. Leaving aside the general question, it 
was clearly a most heartless act to add to the miseries of 
the Jewish population at the moment when the mob were 
eagerly scanning the disposition of the authorities to dis- 
cover to what lengths they might proceed with impunity. 
Whatever be the legality of the measure, the occasion for 
introducing its rigorous enforcement was inhumanly in- 
opportune, and lays the corporations who enforced it 
open to a charge of complicity with the more lawless per- 


secutors of the Jews. At Kief, for example, even before 
the excitement had entirely subsided, the governor or- 
dered a stringent scrutiny of the right of domicile among 
the Jews of that town. By July 29 the strict enforce- 
ment of these harsh regulations had resulted in the ex- 
pulsion of 4,000 Jews, and quite recently new rules have 
been issued in Kief, as well as Odessa, still further limit- 
ing the number of Jews capable of residing in either city. 
At Liebenthal, near Odessa, the municipality, of course 
with the permission of the Governor of Odessa, expelled 
from fifteen to twenty Jewish families, and imposed a 
fine of fifty roubles upon any one harboring a Jew for a 
single night. From Podolsk 100 families were expelled, 
while whole regions of Podolia have been relentlessly 
cleared of the Jews ; the towns of Kromonitz, Dubno, 
Constantinow, Vladimir, and Wolinsk, being the principal 
offenders. More to the east the town of Charkooff ex- 
pelled Jews at the beginning of August. 

At Orel, in the Government of that name, the expul- 
sion has recently taken place on a large scale, and under 
peculiarly cruel circumstances. In that town 900 
families of Jews, numbering 5,000 souls, have hitherto 
dwelt in peace and good will with their neighbors. Soon 
after the outbreak of the disturbances, the Governor of 
Orel gave orders that all Jews must quit its bounds by 
September 1. When that day arrived a further grace 
was allowed them till October 25, and on the latter day 
the Jewish congregation met for the last time in the syn- 
agogue, and, after tearful prayers, removed the sacred 
scrolls and left in mournful procession the town that had 
been their home. Nearly 400 of them, however, did not 
even possess the means of departure, and ventured to re- 
main, only to be thrust out by the police into the snow 
on the following night. In other places, where no legal 





objection could be taken to the domicile' of the Jews, pe- 
titions were sent by the authorities requesting the 
imposition of all sorts of restrictions. They desired to 
restrict Jewish commerce in grain, and to limit the send- 
ing of Jewish children to the higher gymnasia and 
universities, thus stultifying their own complaints as to 
the want of culture among the Jews. Many local com- 
missions would prevent the Jews from holding 
"harandas," erroneously described as "drain-shops," 
but really general stores, at which wine and spirits are 
sold. I have already referred to the Perejaslav petition, 
that Jewesses be not allowed to wear silks and satins. 
These expulsions and petitions have formed the sole an- 
swer which the town councils of Russia have given to the 
Jewish question. 

Meanwhile, what has been done in this emergency? It 
is by no means difficult to suggest what could and should 
have been done from the first appearance of an ti -Jewish 
feeling in the South. If orders had been given and pub- 
lished that every Governor-General should supply Jewish 
communities with a guard on application from the Rabbi 
and the elders of the community ; if an edict had been 
passed rendering all damage to Jewish property by riots 
chargeable to the communal rates of the town or village ; 
if, above all, a proclamation had been issued declaring 
that all Jewish subjects were as much entitled to protec- 
tion of life and property as their orthodox fellow-citizens, 
and denying the existence of any ukase purporting to 
"convey" their property, it is safe to assert that the 
disorders would not have spread far, and certainly would 
not have lasted long. Instead of this, at Kief instruc- 
tions were issued that the military should not be called 
out till the last extremity. 

As early as May 23 the Czar, having been appealed to 


"by a deputation of the Jews of St. Petersburg, headed 
by Baron Gunzburg, expressed his intention of dealing 
with the evil. Accordingly, Count Kutaissow was de- 
spatched to the South to make inquiries. He returned, it 
would seem, with the answer that inquiries were still 
further necessary. General Ignatieff now took the op- 
portunity to introduce a system by which the Zemstras, 
or Provincial Assemblies, might be superseded by local 
committees of experts on this special subject, and on 
September 3 the following rescript was issued : 

" For some time the Government has given its atten- 
tion to the Jews, and to their relations to the rest of the 
inhabitants of the Empire, with the view of ascertaining 
the sad condition of the Christian inhabitants, brought 
about by the conduct of the Jews in business matters. 

"For the last twenty years the Government has en- 
deavored, in various ways, to bring the Jews near to its 
other inhabitants, and has given them almost equal rights 
with the indigenous population. The movements, how- 
ever, against the Jews, which began last spring in the 
south of Kussia, and extended to Central Russia, prove 
incontestably that all its endeavors have been of no avail, 
and that ill-feeling prevails now as much as ever between 
the Jewish and the Christian inhabitants of those parts. 
Now, the proceedings at the trial of those charged with 
rioting and other evidence bear witness to the fact that 
the main cause of those movements and riots to which 
the Russians, as a nation, are strangers was but a com- 
mercial one, and is as follows : 

" ' During the last twenty years the Jews have gradu- 
ally possessed themselves of not only every trade and 
business in all its branches, but also of a great part of 
the land by buying or farming it. With few exceptions 
they have, as a body, devoted their attention not to 


enriching or benefiting the countiy, but to defrauding, 
by their wiles, its inhabitants, and particularly its poor 
inhabitants. This conduct of theirs has called forth pro- 
tests on the part of the people, as manifested in acts of 
violence and robbery. The Government, while on the 
one hand doing its best to put down the disturbances 
and to deliver the Jews from oppression and slaughter, 
have also, on the other hand, thought it a matter of 
urgency and justice to adopt stringent measures in order 
to put an end to the oppression practiced by the Jews on 
the inhabitants and to free the country from their mal- 
practices, which were, as it is known, the cause of the 

" With this view it has appointed commissions (in all 
the towns inhabited by Jews), whose duty it is to inquire 
into the following matters : 

" 1. What are the trades of the Jews which are in- 
jurious to the inhabitants of the place? 

"2. What makes it impracticable to put into force 
the former laws limiting the rights of the Jews in the 
matter of buying and farming land, the trade in intoxi- 
cants, and usury? 

" 3. How can those laws be altered so that they shall 
no longer be enabled to evade them, or what new laws 
are required to stop their pernicious conduct in business? 

" 4. Give (besides the answers to the foregoing sugges- 
tions) the following additional information : (a) On the 
usury practiced by the Jews in their dealings with Chris- 
tians, in cities, towns and villages; (b) the number of 
public houses kept by Jews in their own name, or in that 
of a Christian ; (c) the number of persons in service with 
Jews or under their control ; (r7) the extent (acreage) 
of the land in their possession, by buying or farming; 
(e) the number of Jewish agriculturists. 


"In addition to the above-named information to be 
supplied, every commission is empowered to report on 
such conduct and action of the Jews as may have a local 
interest and importance, and to submit the same to the 

That, after the events of May, June and July, any per- 
son in authority in Russia should in August have been 
thinking of aught else but the protection of Jewish lives 
and the honor of Jewish women, is the first surprise that 
meets us in this remarkable document. But that no word 
of reprimand should be addressed to those who had in- 
dulged in such misdeeds is a severer surprise still, the 
only allusion to the whole catalogue of horrors being 
couched in the half-apologetic allusion to "protests" 
that have taken so deplorable a form. It is certain that 
the direct cause of the objection of the Russians to their 
Jewish fellow-citizens is the natural result of the Russian 
laws, which restrict their rights and mark them off from 
the rest of the nation. It is the lesson taught by all 
experience that the only solution of the Jewish question 
is the granting of full equality. It is absolutely certain 
that the whole body of the Jews, forming one-eighth of 
the population amid which they dwell, cannot be accused 
of "exploitation," or "usury," as imputed by the re- 
script, the fact being that the chief industries of Russia 
are in the hands of the thrifty and hard-working Jews. 
Again, objection to innkeeping by Jews is clearly a gross 
injustice, seeing that statistics show drunkenness to be 
more prevalent in provinces where Jews do not reside. 
But, waiving all this, surely the poor women who had 
been violated, the little children who had been murdered, 
the farmers who had been robbed of their cattle and 
implements, could not be accused of these charges, 
and it was accordingly the refinement of cruelty to 


issue this document, teeming with animus against the 
Jews, at a time when the passions of the mob had been 
raised against all Jews, without distinction of person, oc- 
cupation, age or sex. The Jewish question at the present 
moment is not how the Jews should be prevented from 
competing with the Russians in certain trades, but whether 
the lives of three millions and a half of Jews shall be left 
at the mercy of the passions of the mob. A document 
like this, far from helping to solve the question, rather 
adds to its complexity by showing clearly to the populace 
that the authorities share their prejudices. The appoint- 
ments to commissions showed the same bias ; at the head 
of the Kief Commission was placed General Drudkoff , 
the Governor of Kief, who initated the proceedings of 
the first meeting by declaring, "Either I or the Jews 
must go." On another Commission was placed M. Che- 
garym, whose only claim to be considered an expert on 
the Jewish question was that he had written a pamphlet, 
entitled " The Annihilation of the Jews." 

At Odessa the first Commission was dismissed because 
it had recommended the only true solution of the questions 
put by the Minister of the Interior, the granting to the 
Jews fully equality of rights and equal liberty of settle- 
ment with their fellow-citizens of other creeds. A second 
Commission was thereupon appointed, with views more 
in consonance with the spirit of the rescript. When the 
Governor of Warsaw, Count Albedinski, was ordered to 
publish the circular he at first refused, saying that Jews 
and Poles had always lived on such friendly terms that 
no Commission was necessary. He was, however, forced 
to publish the rescript, and competent observers attribute 
the rise of anti-Semitic feeling in Warsaw mainly to this 

These acts and the tone of the circular itself made clear 


to the Commissions what was expected of them. They 
have accordingly made recommendations which will, if 
adopted, bring back all the horrors of the Middles Ages 
on the unfortunate Jews of Eussia. Thus, among other 
proposals, they have advised that Jews should not be 
allowed to build synagogues or establish schools and or- 
phan asylums ; that they should not be permitted to re- 
side in villages, nor own houses or landed property ; that 
Jews should not lease factories or sell spirituous liquors 
or be apothecaries; Besides this, it is rumored that it is 
intended to restrict still further the right of domicile, and 
to allow no Jew to reside within eighty miles of the bord- 
ers. In short, it seems to be the intention to make Eussia 
an impossible home for the Jews, or perhaps even to doom 
them to complete extinction. The Eusso-Jewish question 
may, therefore, be summed up in these words : Are three 
and a half millions of human beings to perish because 
they are Jews ? 


THE Jews of Eussia are chiefly confined to the Southern 
portion of the country and to Poland, which latter pro- 
vince contains nearly one-half the entire Semitic popula- 
tion. It is not in all sections that bitter prejudices pre- 
vail against them ; in fact they generally live harmoni- 
ously with the Poles. In the Caucasus, though not re- 
garded with any special affiliation, they are certainly not 
hated or envied with that intense feeling which has de- 
veloped against them in other provinces of the Empire. 
The influence of Mussulmans for so many years in the 
Caucasian district, and the efficient measures taken by 


them to enforce the " Truce of God " among the votaries 
of different religions, have had the effect of establishing 
and maintaining at least a partially considerate forbear- 
ance toward the Jews whose thrift here, as elsewhere, has 
given them control of the business of the district. Wherev- 
er Jews come in contact with Turks, as in the Cauca- 
sus, they usually prosper without exciting any prejudice ; 
this may be accounted for, however, by the implacable 
hostility which exists between Christians and Mussul- 
mans, in which Jew and Turk may be regarded as com- 
mon enemies of the cross. 

But the most singular features connected with Jewish 
persecutions are found in and about Odessa, where the 
riots have been appalling in deep villainy and heartless 
cruelties. These singular features are found in the fact 
that Odessa, with a population of 200,000, is so cosmo- 
politian as to be Anti-Russian ; the French are so numer- 
ous that they have stamped their impress upon the city ; 
in fact have Frenchified it ; the Russian tongue is rarely 
spoken in Odessa, hardly so much as the Turk, while 
among the upper class French and Italian are alone used. 
We also observe the lack of Russian influence in the 
absence of Greek churches, and, in short, there is abund- 
ant evidence that the Russ people are despised in Odessa. 
Yet, the Jews are persecuted here with a severity equal 
to that which distinguished the rioters at Kief or Minsk. 
The cause is found, not in religious intolerance nor in 
race prejudices, but in that vicious desire which devel- 
ops under conditions identical with those which are so 
frequently found in Russia the love for plunder when 
incited thereto by a mob. It is like shouting * ' mad-dog ' ' 
Sit some poor canine, the cry being immediately taken up 
by every person until the dog is killed. The Jews are 
rich, but their defensive strength is poor, they therefore, 


become objects for spoliation, and whether the spoils- 
man be Russian, Frenchman, Spaniard or Englishman, 
if the occasion be flattering, the cry of " Jew," " Christ- 
killer," etc., will be just as loud against them. 

The trade of Odessa is in the hands of Polish Jews, 
who are most thoroughly despised by the illiterate Russ. 
Many of these Israelites are in possession of large tracts 
of land in the Odessa district, which they cause to be cul- 
tivated for their own account, and thus they enjoy to a 
large extent a monopoly of the produce exports, while 
they are both land owners and merchants. Their wealth 
stirs up against them the hatred of all Russia, which 
hatred extends to every officer of the Government and 
also to the subjects of other nationalities doing business 
in Russia. . 

The Jews are charged with the most heinous offenses, 
but the charges are vague, and reducible to no positive 
evidence. " They make their money by the most infa- 
mous practices," it is said ; "they lend money at outra- 
geously high rates of interest, and do not keep their own 
counting houses or shops, but prowl about the country like 
wolves, seeking the peasants they may devour, selling 
them liquor to encourage their drunken propensities, tak- 
ing advantage of their distress to wrest from them deeds 
of mortgage, and urging them on the road of ruin, so as 
ultimately to drive them out of their homes and lands." 

All this is tantamount to sajnng that the Jews are 
usurers ; then the question arises, What are the provisions 
of the Russian law with respect to usury, whether prac- 
ticed by Jew or Gentile? Money is no more than an 
article of trade on which Russians and Hebrews place a 
like estimate; there is no Russian shopkeeper who will 
not ask two or more times the value of an article if he 
thinks his customer can be induced to pay it, so there is 


no legal reason why the Jews should not follow the ex- 
ample thus set before them. 

My experience convinces me that nowhere under the 
ethereal canopy is there another nation that can equal 
Russia for swindlers. I must here relate an incident told 
me while on my voyage up the Baltic Sea to St. Peters- 
burg. Among our passengers was an Irish gentleman 
who had, for nearly twenty years, been running a large 
cotton mill in Yaraslof, Russia. He had been on a visit 
to Ireland and was now returning to Yaraslof, where he 
made his home. Said he: "The person who goes to 
Russia without understanding the ways of the country 
will undoubtedly be boldly swindled. Directly after first 
going to Yaraslof I purchased a pair of felt boots for the 
sum of 'twelve roubles, which I thought very cheap. 
Soon after making the purchase I showed the boots to a 
gentleman who was an old resident of Russia, but who 
was an Englishman with whom I was going into business ; 
I held up the boots in an admiring manner and comment- 
ed upon the extraordinary bargain which I had made. 
But instead of uniting in my opinion, the Englishman 
laughed at me for being * taken in,' as he expressed it, 
and then declared he could buy a pair exactly like mine, 
and at the same place where my purchase was made, for 
five roubles. Excitedly I offered to wager him a basket 
of the finest wine to be obtained in Yaraslof, that he 
could not. He accepted my wager, for which I was very 
glad, for I felt certain to win. At his request we went 
down to the store where I had bought the boots, and go- 
ing in he enquired the price of a pair like those I had ; 
the shopkeeper asked him fifteen roubles. Instantly I 
clapped my hands in high glee and called on him to pay 
the bet. But, said he, * give me a little time and I'll buy 
the boots for five roubles.' He began to abuse the shop- 


keeper in the most awful manner, calling him swindler, 
thief, extortioner, etc. All these epithets did not dis- 
turb the good humor of the shopkeeper, who finally con- 
sented to let the boots go for twelve roubles. My friend 
turned abruptly upon his heel and with many impreca- 
tions went out of the shop, while I laughed and urged 
him to pay the bet. We walked down the street a little 
way and then returning came back by the shop again. 
Seeing us go by, the shopkeeper ran out to my friend and 
telling him a long story about how much the boots cost, 
he offered them for ten roubles. My friend only gave 
him another cursing and then went on ; returning in a 
few minutes, we again walked by the shop, and again 
the merchant ran out beseeching my friend to buy, but 
still there was no trade, so that for the third time we 
parted from the shopkeeper, who had, however, offered 
the boots for seven roubles. I now began to be fright- 
ened, yet I could hardly think that the man would 
make a further reduction of two roubles. After staying 
away nearly one hour, for the fourth time we passed. 
The merchant, who, as before, ran out, caught hold of 
my friend and began to argue with him. The English- 
man manifested great umbrage and threatened to strike 
the shopkeeper for interfering with him so many times, 
when at the beginning he declared he would not give 
more than five roubles for the boots. After considerable 
quarreling the shopkeeper at length accepted the original 
offer, and of course I had to pay for the wine." 

This Jewish manner of doing business is common 
among all Russian merchants, so that generally speaking 
any article may be purchased from them for about one- 
third the price which they first ask. 

Now, if we even mistrusted the repeated assertions 
made throughout Russia that Government agents were 


sent among the populace to stir up their evil passions, to 
justify and almost provoke their violence by a reference 
to the Emperor's acts and wishes ; even if we disbe- 
lieve the statements that men high in authority, civil or 
military governors, refused to interpose between the mur- 
derers and their victims, " not wishing to disturb their 
soldiers for a pack of Jews ; " even if we deemed it im- 
possible that men and officers belonging to the army or 
the police, either remained passive spectators of the worst 
outrages, or became participators in them ; even if we 
make abstraction from all this, yet it would be impossible 
to find words sufficiently severe to stigmatize the iniqui- 
tious proclamation, or " Rescript," of September 3d, in 
which, instead of denouncing the atrocities of the perse- 
cutors of the Jews, the Government takes the opportunity 
of enumerating the offences of the Jews themselves ; thus 
palliating, if not actually sanctioning, any excesses that 
may be committed against them, and almost inciting the 
populace to run amuck them : '* not to nail the Jew's ear 
to the pump." 

And yet, after all, what are the alleged offences of the 

" They have possessed themselves not only of every 
trade and business in all its branches, but also of great 
part of the land, by buying and farming it." 

" They have defrauded, by their wiles, the inhabitants, 
and particularly the poor people." 

But the question is, or should be : " Have the Jews 
broken the laws? " " Do the laws allow either Jew or 
Christian to carry on illicit trades or criminal business?" 

If the Jews have acted within the law they should 
have lawful protection. If their offences were of a na- 
ture not foreseen by the existing law, then it should 
be amended. But in any case the first duty of the Gov- 



eminent should have been to uphold the law against the 
persecuting populace, about whose unlawful proceedings 
there could be no doubt whatever ; the gravest error or 
crime that can, in a civilized country, belaid to the charge 


of a Government being that of allowing its subjects to 
take the law into their own hands. 

With respect to the main offences imputed to the Jews, 
that of being usurious money lenders, and keeping dram- 
shops, I must repeat that the fault is not so much. of the 
Jews' greed and knavery as of the Christians' improvi- 


deuce and intemperance. The peasants of Northern Rus- 
sia, though there be no Jews among them, are no less ad- 
dicted to drunkenness, and no less eaten up by debts and 
mortgages, than peasants of the Southern and Western dis- 
tricts ; for there are both North and South plenty of 
Christians ready to lend money on usury and to keep 

There is nothing more certain than that the Jew, the 
peddling Jew, has no chance of thriving, except among 
people whom ignorance and unthrif t deliver into his hands 
as easy victims. 

It is not by banishing or exterminating the Jews that 
Russia can hope to save her poor peasants, but by trying 
what education may do toward curing a people (to whom 
no one can deny many fine qualities) of those drunken,, 
thriftless, and vagrant habits which have always been 
their besetting sins. There was a time when Jews had a mo- 
nopoly of the money business in Europe, when kings and 
princes drew the teeth from the Hebrew's jaws to get at the 
ducats in his purse. What was the result? The Italians, 
-Lombards and Tuscans set up in competition. They en- 
nobled money lending by creating banking houses. They 
thus beat the Jew with his own weapon, and their names 
still live in Lombard street and Boulevard des Italiens; 
and men still write L. s. d. instead of P. s. p. This is 
a good lesson for the Russian and German Governments 
to study. 



I have given, in as succinct form as possible, a descrip- 
tion of Russian life in ail its phases, as I found it. My 
trip through that country, made rather as an investigator 
than tourist, was delightfully pleasant and profitable ; 
not that I did not encounter serious difficulties or meet 
with annoying obstacles, for it was my lot to suffer 
many times from both, but all the unpleasant episodes 
and positions which jeopardized my safety only served to 
make the result, as a whole, more enjoyable. I have 
written of Russia and Siberia at times both facetiously 
and solemnly, but always with frankness, and, so far as 
my judgment permitted, truthfully. It is most difficult 
to write of a country (covering the scope which I have 
undertaken in this work) while ignorant of the language 
used by its people, because information received through 
interpreters must always have about it the suspicion 
which usually attaches to second-hand stories. But I 
have exercised much care and discrimination, so that I 
have no hesitation in reaffirming and declaring the truth of 
every statement herein made. 

Russia is the most remarkable as well as the largest 


nation on the earth ; her history is wonderful, because it 
recounts so many wars with barbaric hordes ; claiming to 
be a great civilized power, yet her civilization is of a 
doubtful character ; nor can we review the influences by 
which she is surrounded and expect Russia to be more 
progressive with the spirit of education and that uplift- 
ing force of science which dazzles all creation with intel- 
ligence ; to the south she has Turkey, with which nation 
Russia has become partially amalgamated in spirit by 
reason of the bitter wars that have waged between them ; 


on the southeast is Persia and the Caucasus, and upon 
the east are the wild tribes of Siberia and contiguous 
countries. With these ferocious races Russia has been at 
war since she became a nation, and the contests have 
ever been conducted upon barbaric principles. Visitors 
to the museum at St. Petersburg will not fail to see pre- 
served in jars of alcohol, and mounted in glass cases, 
several heads that have been struck off by imperial 
orders, from the bodies of traitors or enemies to Russia. 
These ghastly trophies are actualty paraded in the capital 
as an exhibition of Muscovite valor, but what better ex- 
ample of barbarism can be found than they afford ; or 
what better proof do we require to establish the asser- 
tion that Russia is a barbaric nation in the swaddling 
clothes of civilization ? 

The Government of Russia is fashioned after unen- 
lightened Suzerainties, to be found nowhere except in 
Pagan countries. The word Czar comes from Caesar, 
but even the great power of Caesar could not compare 
with that now exercised by Russia's ruler. Not only is 
the Czar exalted above all temporal attributes, but his 
name must perforce be mentioned with that awesome re- 
gard which the faithful Moujik pays to God. No coun- 
try has so much law as Russia, yet the first sentence in 
her code is this : " The Czar is above all law." It does 
not even say. " Czar, by the grace of God," as they do 
in England, because, like the Pope of Rome, Russia's 
sovereign is both a temporal and spiritual ruler, if not 
equal to God, at least one of His chief counselors. This 
is all barbarism, which is inversely developed into more 
inordinate Paganism by a prohibition of secular freedom 
and the exaltation of a particular creed whose very 
essence is ignorance and superstition. 

Shackled by faith in ancient ceremonials, bound fast 


by gyves of church discipline, divested of the robes of 
intelligence, confined in the damp, foul, pestilential at- 
mosphere of slavery to rulership, blinded by fanatical 
prejudices and worse than fanatical religion, hedged 
about with intolerance, poverty-stricken with a debt 
created by church indulgences, utterly lacking in homo- 
geneity, injustice and corruption permeating every de- 
partment of the Government, how shall Russia raise her- 
self from under such grievous burdens and set her eyes 
toward a civilization such as other Christian nations en- 


I am sorry to say it, but the fact is so apparent that 
none may misconstrue the events now taking place the 
future of Russia is in Nihilism ; if this bloody power does 
not purge the nation and give it a new growth, then we 
cannot predict any further than the dismemberment of 
the Empire and its gradual absorption into other powers. 
Civilization is spreading rapidly eastward, it cannot stop 
or go around Russia, and whether with bayonet or psalm- 
book the march will be made through every part of the 
Czar's dominions ; resistance will be like a shadow fight- 
ing the storms, only that to resist as a nation will be to 
destroy every vestige of Muscovite Imperialism and leave 
her as another Babylon ; or, to use a more moderate illus- 
tration, like Poland, that has been so voraciously swal- 
lowed and digested by her. 

The Nihilists, aside from their inchoate condition and 
lack of objective cohesion that concentrates revolutionary 
parties under acknowledged leadership, are prompted by 
policies and apprehensions at strange variance with the 
object they ostensibly have in view. In this observation 
I have reference to that prime Nihilistic faction which 
aims at liberalism and a radical reformation of the Gov- 
ernment, which shall have some elements of democracy in 


it. They confidently believe that these reforms can be 
obtained through a process of terrorization, particularly 
by assassination. That this is a fallacy is proved by the 
repeated failures which have followed its adoption in 
nearly every country of both hemispheres since history 
began to record the deeds of men. 

The first logical step toward securing enlarged liber- 
ties to the people of E-ussia, is education of the masses ; 
not alone education in science, but in politics as well, a 
mind development that will subvert the Greek Church, 
which is a ban of barbarism almost as rank and more de- 
basing than Shamanism. To-day the peasantry of 
Russia are not prepared for liberty, which is to them no 
more than a jewel before swine ; so long as the poten- 
tentiality of the Church continues absorbing a revenue 
doubly in excess of governmental expenditures, and im- 
posing a yoke of servitude upon its subjects more 
galling than ever a Romish Pope devised, so long must 
Russians suffer. ' Abuses of the aristocracy and impe- 
rialism are made possible by the Church, whose dic- 
tatorial mandates are written to publish the Czar's 
pleasure and to set up a fear of the devil for the coercion 
of those who might otherwise think for themselves. 

Liberalize the Church and a liberalization of the Gov- 
ernment would be certain to follow. The Greek Church 
forbids its subjects thinking, while the Government de- 
nies its subjects the exercise of a voice in public affairs ; 
that power which oppresses the mind is ten-fold more 
injurious than that which prescribes the acts of men ; 
hence, 1 repeat, the first important step toward re- 
forming Russia must be directed to the curtailment of the 
Church power and influence, so that her peasantry may be 
free from superstitions and be made to understand that 
they have a mind which God intended they should USQ 
for themselves, 


But the obstacles which now so seriously hinder 
Russia's advancement are no greater perhaps than those 
that have obstr ucted civilization in all other countries ; 
hence, we cannot resist the belief that she, too, will ad- 
vance by gradual steps and finally become established as 
a free and fully enlightened government. If we may 
look forward to the time when Russia shall develop into 
a republic, or even a limited mo narchy, we may behold 
in her not only a greater power than now, but we may 
also observe her growth into a government absolutely 
peerless, and more nearly in competition with the United 
States than, any other nation ever can be. Already, with 
all of Russia's drawbacks, she contests with America in 
agricultural production and in feeding foreign nations, 
and were her possible resources fully developed by im- 
proved machinery and well-applied industry she would 
produce enough wheat, corn, potatoes, rye, barley, etc., 
to shut our cereals entirely out of the European market. 
The revolution in Russia means not only the downfall of 
autocracy and the breaking up of those customs which 
aggrandize a few by the impoverishment of many, but it 
also means, though indefinite and doubtful under Nihi- 
listic policy, an enforced recognition of agriculture as the 
prime factor in national existence; it means encourage- 
ment to industry of every chara cter and the subversion 
of every element in the Government that is hurtful to 
the masses. 

Thousands of Russians have long despaired of reforms 
being granted that would enlarge their liberties, and for 
the first time in the history of that country there is a 
considerable emigration from Russia, not an inconsid- 
erable part of the hegira being directed toward 
America. I have always considered it an ill-advised 
policy to throw out flattering invitations to all dissatisfied 


foreigners to make their homes with us, but since the 
policy is in active operation I must say that no class of 
immigrants would be more valuable to America than 
Russians ; they are patient, honest, and, when put upon 
their resources, very industrious ; no people are less ad- 
dicted to disturbance, their amiable qualities, indeed, 
being almost phenomenal. Raised in subjection to an 
aristocracy, the peasantry seem to expect the treatment 
of slaves ; they will submit to any indignity from those 
whom they regard their superiors, and their confidence is 
easily gained ; they are faithful to any trust, and consid- 
ered in all their peculiarities they are the most humble, 
frugal and deserving people on the earth. Placed upon 
any of our Western prairies the Russians would thrive 
greatly, though in their own country, where land is al- 
most superabundant, they make little progress and mani- 
fest a shiftlessness that is most reprehensible. But this 
is due to causes lhave already explained in describing the 
facts and results of serf manumission. Wherever a 
Russian possesses absolute proprietary interests he inva- 
riably prospers, nor does he exhibit any disposition to 

Though Russia may, and doubtless soon will become 
the most dangerous competitor we can ever have, yet 
America cannot help feeling a friendly interest in her 
prosperity ; we cannot afford to forget the kind offices 
extended us by Russia in the most distressing era of our 
national life. The two Alexanders have always been our 
friends, and to-day the subjects of no other nation are so 
warmly welcomed in the Empire and so considerately 
treated by all Russians as are those of America. To say 
" I am an American," in St. Petersburg, is almost like 
the open sesame of Ali Baba ; it is enough, and to all 
such JRussiq, extends u most hospitable welcome.. 


It has been in no contentious or prejudiced spirit that 
I have written of Russia as semi-barbaric ; so far from 
using the term as one of reproach I have employed it 
rather to excuse the manifest faults of the Empire, the 
faults of the son as seen in the father, the faults of train- 
ing, which are as natural and similar as the blood of 

The growth of Russia toward liberalism is slow, but 
it is, nevertheless, apparent. Her greatest scientists, 
poets, philosophers, are of the present century ; her 
greatest newspapers and manufactories are of to-day ; 
her finest churches were built many, many years ago, and 
her priesthood has lost the respect of the masses. Are 
not these gratifying evidences of improvement? 

These were my reflections while in Russia, which have 
been strengthened by a further consideration of the sub- 
ject since, but while thinking of Russia's future I cannot 
help feeling sympathy for poor Poland, whose subjuga- 
tion is Russia's greatest disgrace. Suffering Poland! 
distress has been the price of her patriotism, and though 
she struggled with a bravery almost unparalled yet her 
struggles were like those of Spartacus and the heroic 
Thracians, for now she lies as one dead at the feet of 

Before leaving Warsaw I remembered my promise 
made tc the exile in his lonely hut near Yeniseisk, and 
determined to fulfil it. I therefore persuaded the man- 
agers of the Hotel Victoria to address a letter, in Rus- 
sian, to the exile's wife at Micahow, and to fill it with 
many endearing words, which I thought would convey 
the feelings of the exile toward one whom I was sure he 
still loved devotedly. Nothing could have afforded me 
more pleasure than to have witnessed the effect produced 
by this letter, if it was received by the wife : but as my 


curiosity in this direction must ever remain unsatisfied, I 
will still take delight in thinking of the happiness I 
caused the poor exile and the possible pleasure my act 
may have given his wife. 

Having spent nearly one week in Warsaw, and gathered 
all the information available for my purposes, I prepared 
to leave for London by way of Vienna and Paris. Before 
departing, in company with a guide, 1 went to an ex- 
change office in Warsaw to convert my Russian money 
into Austrian florins. As all the exchange dealers in the 
place are Jews, I of course went into the Israelitish quar- 
ters and was conducted to what my guide declared was 
the largest and most reliable broker in Warsaw. If the 
guide had omitted to tell me this, I would certainly have 
inclined to the belief that this same broker was a lean 
and hungry apothecary ; his place was shabby in the ex- 
treme ; there was a rickety counter behind which, on the 
grimy walls, were shelves stored with phials and old 
greasy packages ; an old Jew, of marked features, cov- 
ered up in a long overcoat and with an immense muffler 
around his neck, sat on a stool waiting for customers. 
He appeared very glad when we entered, evidently in an- 
ticipation of a few copecks, and bowed so graciously that 
he quite impressed me, but 1 could only return his salu- 
tation by a nod of the head and by smiling familiarly. 
My guide did all the talking, and effected an ex- 
change of one hundred roubles, the rest of my money 
being in English pound notes. When we got back to the 
hotel I made a calculation of what I should have received 
in the exchange and found that the sagacious and con- 
descending old fellow had discounted me so that I was 
one florin short. I was so well satisfied that the broker 
had knowingly swindled me that, with the guide, I imme- 
diately returned and had my interpreter explain the 


shortage ; whereupon, without any discussion of the 
matter, the Jew gave me another florin, with a look 
which plainly told that he knew it all the time, and had 
only experimented to see if I would find it out. 

The train service between Warsaw and Vienna is excel- 
lent, much better than I found it in any other part of the 
continent. The sleeping cars are made into compart- 
ments large enough to accommodate only two persons, 
and since travel between the two cities is not usually 
great, a compartment to one's self is easily obtained with- 
out extra cost. These accommodations are even more 
exclusive than the staterooms in Pullman sleepers, while 
the upholstery is much more luxurious. My trip down 
to Vienna was a very pleasant one, with two exceptions : 
about one o'clock at night I was rudely awakened by a 
man who pounded viciously at the door of my compart- 
ment, and when I let him in his actions and speech were 
such that I thought he was a train-robber. He spoke 
Russian, and of course I had to rely on his gestures. 
After thumping around for some time, he grabbed my 
valise and began to wrench at it until I was on the point 
of giving him the bounce or being bounced myself , when 
the sleeping-car conductor made his appearance, and, as he 
spoke German, I was soon made acquainted with the fact 
that we had arrived at Granitza, on the Russian frontier, 
where the passport examiner inspected the papers of all 
persons leaving Russia. I got out my passport, to 
which was attached, by large red seals, my Siberian 
podorojna, and also a special order from the Russian 
Government requesting all officers to facilitate my pur- 
poses and to give me any aid I might require. Seeing 
these special privilege papers, the examining officer took 
off his hat to me as though he had just discovered that I 
was a prince or king in undress, and gave me a five-*. 


minute speech of apology. I now tumbled into bed and 
was not long in reaching a sound sleep again, but at three, 
A. M., I was frightened out of rny slumber by another 
kicking at my stateroom door and a yelling all along the 
line. Great guns ! I thought, are we attacked by 
brigands, thrown off abridge, or in a dreadful smash-up? 

"Zollbeamte! " (Custom-officer,) cried a voice at the 

" Well, you need not make such an outrageous racket 
about it, if you are," I answered. " I have nothing duti- 
able, so pass on to the next customer." 

This made the Austrian custom officer red-hot, so to 
speak, for I now understood that we had passed out of 
Russia and were at Shtchakova, the first station in Austria, 
and levity before an Austrian is worse than a red flag in 
France. He pounded with increased gusto until I opened 
the door and showed him a small satchel filled with 
manuscripts and second-hand books. At sight of these 
he gave me a fierce look and then pasted a double eagle 
on my bag and shot out of the room as though he had 
lost a great deal of precious time with me. Thus I left 
Russia and entered new dominions. 

The matter is foreign to my subject, but as it is a part 
of rny experience, I wish to s^iy that the trip from Vienna 
to Paris is about as uncomfortable as stupidity can make 
it. I engaged a sleeping-car berth of the International 
Wagon Lits, and was assigned to a small compartment in 
which there were already three others. The room was 
so' small that only two persons could sit in it at the s:i:^ 
time, so we had to take turns in standing in the passage- 
way. At Stuttgart, which is about intermediate between 
Vienna and Paris, a common link coupling, which con- 
nected our sleeper with the train, broke, and most aston- 
ishing to relate, the sleeping-car was abandoned, because 


a new link was not obtainable. Thence we rode into 
Paris in a third-class car, because there was no room in 
the others. This trip was almost as harassing as my 
journey from Ekaterineburg to Irkoutsk, but it taught 
me why people go to Europe to spend their summers ; 
first, because it is thought to be fashionable ; and second, 
because the accommodations of every character through- 
out the continent are so execrable, if not horrible, that 
after spending a few weeks in Europe it is like stepping 
out of the back door of hades into the front parlor of 
heaven to get back to America again ; it teaches us how 
to appreciate our own country.